Smart City Mission envisages revival of Downtown as cultural, commercial centre
Under the Smart City Mission (SCM), authorities are gearing up for reviving importance of Downtown as cultural heritage and commercial hub of the summer capital.
The implementation of the SCM is aimed at two basic components—pan-city proposal and area based development. Both the components are aimed to provide smart and innovative solution to transform Srinagar into an "eco-friendly and resilient city.'
Pan city solutions cover disaster management, urban mobility and waste management. Under area based development, 76 percent area will be retrofitted, 19 percent will be developed as green field development and 5 percent area will be redeveloped.
Urban mobility includes traffic regulation, zebra crossing on roads, intelligent traffic system and road widening.
"Under the SCM, we are going to review the importance of Downtown. We will develop it to give the touch of our culture and heritage," Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Dr Shafqat Khan told Greater Kashmir.
Dr Shafqat, who was also the nodal officer of the SCM proposal, said it envisages upliftment of artisans and revival of cottage, shawl and other craft industries. "It will also create hundreds of job opportunities for local youth. We are going to convert Shergadi complex into Art Cultural and Habitat Centre. Yarkandsarai at Safa Kadal, which is situated on the bank of rivers will be converted into craft museum," he said.
He added that FCI godowns will be converted into working spaces for local youth. "These spaces will be allotted to the local youth to run their business and offices. We will also provide soft loans to locals to develop their residential houses in Downtown for the stay of tourists," he said.
He added that the tourists will have an experience of Kashmiri culture and heritage by staying in local houses in Downtown. "This way, we will have large number of tourists thronging downtown. It will be direct earning for locals," he said.
The Old Court complex will be converted into hospitality sector. "However, the heritage buildings will remain untouched and it will be preserved along with all other heritage buildings and sites," he said.
He said that development of the Srinagar city on modern lines will increase job opportunities for the hundreds of local youth.
On June 24, this year, in a major push for urban infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir, the state's twin capitals Srinagar and Jammu figured in the list of cities to be developed as "smart cities."
The Smart City Mission—aimed at improving basic urban infrastructure in cities—was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June 2015. Under the program, each city will get Rs 1,000 crore central funding for its comprehensive development and effective delivery of public services.