Srinagar, Apr 21: Authorities have missed deadline for completion of several works in Srinagar under Smart City Project, which were scheduled to be completed before April 15.
Earlier this month, the Divisional Commissioner (Div Com) Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri had issued clear cut directions to all officers, officials and contractors associated with these works to complete them within a set timeline.
The works included concrete works, footpaths, tiling works, drainage works, underground works, landscaping and turfing that are still going on including the Blacktopping works and installation of signages.
Besides that, the renovation work of historic Ganta Ghar is still going on. But the construction works have resulted in major traffic diversions and congestion, causing inconvenience to commuters and residents in the area.
However, Commissioner SMC and CEO Srinagar Smart City Limited, Athar Amir Khan told Greater Kashmir that under the Smart City Project there are a number of projects which have been completed till April 15.
"Some projects like Polo-View market, illumination of Kashmir Arts Emporium, Press Enclave and other locations have been completed before April 15,” he said.
Athar said that for the number of projects the tentative deadlines are April 30, December this year and some works may spill over to next year. “The city will be changed completely. People will see a newly developed beautiful city now," he added.
He said that work at MA Road was supposed to be finished on April 22 but due to rainfall the work has been hampered. "We have set a tentative deadline, but it is not necessary that all the work will be finished on time. Sometimes inclement weather and other things can hamper the work," he said.
The SMC Commissioner further said that they are now starting work on Jahangir Chowk stretch, Batamaloo, Dal Lake including other locations and the deadlines for these projects have been set in different months.
“After completing the project at Lal Chowk, the work will be started at different locations in Downtown areas,” he said.
Pertinent to mention, that the city is being beautified in the run up to the G20 summit meetings, which are likely to be held in the last week of May this year.
Prominent among the Smart City projects in Srinagar include revamping historic Polo View Street, façade improvement at Jamia Masjid, bio-toilets, bicycle sharing scheme, and others.
Smart city project comprises two parts, area-based development with an estimated amount of Rs. 2869.24 crores and Pan city Solutions with an estimated cost of Rs. 765.03 crores.
Smart Cities Mission was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on June 25, 2015, for the development of 100 Cities across the country.
Under the Mission, both capital cities of Jammu and Kashmir were selected by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Meanwhile, the city centre Lal Chowk on Friday, the last of the Ramadhan wore a deserted look with most of the shops remaining closed, which otherwise used to bustle with shoppers.
Many shopkeepers told Greater Kashmir that their business was hampered this year due to the ongoing smart city works going on around the Lal Chowk. “People don’t prefer to visit Lal Chowk, as the whole area is in disarray because of construction works. Instead, they preferred the old city for shopping this year,” one of the shopkeepers said.
They said that they are not against the ongoing beautification of the city, but the government should increase the pace of work, so that their business won't be affected.