Government faces flak over preparation of Srinagar Master Plan

The State Government on Wednesday came under sharp criticism in the Legislative Assembly over preparation of new Master Plan for Srinagar city with legislators, cutting across party lines, accusing the Housing & Urban Development department of keeping them in dark over the plan.
Government faces flak over preparation of Srinagar Master Plan
File Photo

The State Government on Wednesday came under sharp criticism in the Legislative Assembly over preparation of new Master Plan for Srinagar city with legislators, cutting across party lines, accusing the Housing & Urban Development department of keeping them in dark over the plan.

Speaking in the House, PDP MLA and former Minister of State, Muhammad Ashraf Mir lashed out at Government for "messing up" the preparation of Master Plan for the summer capital. 

"It (Master Plan) is lifeline of Srinagar City. How can two or three persons decide future of entire city?  What is the role of junior Engineer in preparation of the Master Plan? Are these officers capable of outlining vision of Smart city for Srinagar while preparing the plan?" Mir asked.

Mir demanded that a committee of experts should be constituted to look into preparation of the Master Plan.

Intervening in the issue, Speaker Kavinder Gupta directed Government to consult lawmakers on preparation of Master Plan for cities and town.

Speaking on the issue, senior PDP leader and MLA Amira Kadal Syed Altaf Bukhari said that Government should consult all stakeholders on preparation of the Master Plan. "They should involve all relevant and concerned stakeholders," Bukhari demanded.

Replying to questions, Minister of State for H&UDD, Asiya Naqash said the draft of revised Master Plan for Srinagar City would be completed by ending July 2016."We have completed 85 percent work in this regard," she said.

She said the officers engaged in preparation of the plan are "highly qualified and capable." "We should not point the fingers at one person. Our officers are competent enough," she said.

As she faced a barrage of questions from other lawmakers, CPI(M) state secretary and MLA Kulgam Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami intervened, saying that HUDD Minister Nirmal Singh, who was present in the House, should handle the issue. 

"Why should not I respond to questions"? Asiya angrily reacted. Later, speaking in the House, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said "an impression is being created that MLAs and MLCs are not involved in the process."

"This is totally wrong. We would involve all stakeholders particularly MLAs and MLCs in formulation of the Master Plan. 85 per cent work of the Srinagar Master Plan has been completed. In this regard, the elected representatives would be taken on board before putting the plan in the public domain." 

Senior NC leader and MLA Khanayar Ali Muhammad Sagar said it is mandatory for the Government to take elected representatives on board over the matter.

MLA Habba Kadal Shamima Firdous said Government has not consulted vital stakeholders including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Tourism bodies regarding preparation of the Plan.

MLA Chadoora Javaid Mustafa Mir asked Srinagar Development Authority to involve MLAs in the process,

"I would not allow any official to enter my area if they wouldn't brief us about the plan for my area," Mir said.

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