Why successive Master Plans proved failure for Srinagar?

While state administrative council has approved a fresh Master Plan for Srinagar city, previous such roadmaps for ensuring growth of the city on scientific lines have failed to make an impact owing to their tardy implementation and non-cooperation among departments entrusted to execute it, reveals a report prepared by town planning organisation.
Why successive Master Plans proved failure for Srinagar?
Representational Pic

While state administrative council has approved a fresh Master Plan for Srinagar city, previous such roadmaps for ensuring growth of the city on scientific lines have failed to make an impact owing to their tardy implementation and non-cooperation among departments entrusted to execute it, reveals a report prepared by town planning organisation.

So far Srinagar has seen two such plans – 1971-91, and the existing one, 2000-21. There was a plan holiday kind of scenario from 1991 – 2001 and Master Plan-1991 "was illogically extended up to 2001."

The Master Plan-1971-91, as per report, was directly borrowed from western planning concepts which might have been appropriate for new areas with large plot size, but created impediment in conservation of valuable heritage and discouraged redevelopment of blighted areas.

This policy continued in the next Master Plan, adversely affecting redevelopment, conservation and rejuvenation of different areas in the core city, the report said.

Srinagar Municipal Corporation and Srinagar Development Authority are entrusted with implementation of the Master Plans and responsible for its implementation in letter and spirit.

As per both master plans, Srinagar city areas in north-west, south-east and east have been persistently proposed to be developed since first Master Plan, but have remained underdeveloped.

"The area has either not developed at all or are sparsely developed with negative implications of ribbon development. Although 45 years have passed from inception of first Master Plan the development has not taken off in these areas either warranting course correction or rethinking of urban development strategy," the report said.

The report said that apart from technically flawed land use, the Master Plans also suffered due to contradictory and highly generic building norms and development regulations; irrational building lines proposed for core city roads and existing Pantha Chowk-Parimpora bypass; and slack land use policy that promoted unwanted development.

"Master Plan 1971-91 was more succinct and elaborate in understanding the city of Srinagar in comparison to Master Plan 2000-21 however both the Plans failed to give Srinagar a safe direction. The failure may also be attributed to archaic institutional structure of urban local bodies and local authority, SMC and SDA, entrusted with implementation of the Master Plans," it said.

It said that the Master Plan 1971-91 and building byelaws prescribed by it discouraged the conservation of the built heritage and repair and reconstruction of dilapidated structures, "might have been the reasons for slowly converting the city into a slum."

The report has suggested for institutional reorganisation and establishment of Srinagar metropolitan development to ensure the next master plan, which was approved by state administrative council headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, is implemented in letter and spirit.

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