Official apathy hinders development of Nowhatta
The hustle and bustle in congested Nowhatta Chowk in Shahr-e-Khaas here portrays a unique picture of development for residents and traders.
However, interior areas of this locality stand in complete contrast reflecting decades of underdevelopment due to apathy by successive regimes.
For 50-year old Bashir Ahmad, who runs a bakery shop at NowhattaChowk, the area has not witnessed development for past over two decades.
"Nowhatta has its own historical importance. Ironically, this area has been completely neglected on developmental front," he said.
Nowhattasans proper draining system resulting in water-logging during rains or snowfall. Locals said the Roads and Buildings department had years ago constructed a drain from Nowhatta to Babademb. "But it is yet to be connected with small drains. The drainage problem persists" said Ali Muhammad a local.
The area houses historic Jamia Masjid who is one of the major tourist attractions in Srinagar. "Nowhatta and its adjoining areas have been turned into garbage dumps said former president of Jamia Market, Mushtaq Ahmad.
The locals said the lone fountain at the main chowk has been defunct for long time. "Street lights are also not working. It seems authorities have neglected development of this area," said Muhammad Ismaail, a shopkeeper.
In absence of any monitoring by authorities, street vendors have erected kiosks on roadsides in the area causing frequent traffic jams.
"The problem is compounded by wrong parking on main roads here. We have never seen any traffic cop manning traffic in Nowhattachowk which remains congested with passenger buses and private vehicles. Police is only visible during curfews and shutdowns here," said Bashir Ahmad, a local.
Officials blame residents and shopkeepers for "harassing" cops deputed in the area to regulate traffic movement. People there do not cooperate with traffic cops," said the Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Haseeb-ur-Rehman.
"Government did not provide us any space here for auto stands," said Farooq Ahmad, an auto rickshaw driver.
However, some people said the local legislator has undertaken several developmental works in the areas. "Our MLA has developed inner lanes and constructed several marriages halls in Nowhatta areas," said Muhammad Shafi, a local.