Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 31 (ANI): The poet, Amir Khusrau, astutely described the beauty of Kashmir, saying that if there is a heaven on earth, it is here. And the crown of Kashmir, the city of Srinagar, has been receiving a makeover under the Srinagar Smart City Project (SSCP).
The Ministry of Urban Development launched the Smart City Mission, wherein 100 cities were selected for renewal and retrofitting to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, provide a decent quality of life to their citizens, and apply smart solutions to improve services and infrastructure.
Major investments valued at around 120 million USD by the government are intended to increase tourism, create infrastructural development, reconstruct and repair of roads, generate employment for local artists, ease the flow of information and for the further beautification of the city.
While speaking to ANI, the Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Athar Aamir Khan said, "The basic purpose of the Srinagar Smart City Project is to uplift our city. So it becomes better in terms of liveability, economic ability, upgradation of Infrastructure, road improvement, heritage conservation, improvement and rejuvenation of the riverfront. In a broad sense, it is to improve the livability and sustainability of the city."Srinagar, the largest city and summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is known worldwide for its gardens, lakes, waterfronts, and nature. However, the city has been due for a facelift. Under the Smart City Project, conservation work targeted many famous tourist attractions in Srinagar, such as Shalimar Bagh, and the Mughal Gardens. Local artists have also been approached for the beautification of roadsides in the city.
Zahoor Kashmir, an artist from Srinagar itself involved in the SSCP said, "We are making these Murals art under the Srinagar Smart City Project. The sole purpose of this is to increase the city's tourism and tourist attraction."The area near the historical Sunday Market of Srinagar was previously plagued with poor drainage, damaged roadways, and a shortage of feasible parking, affecting the market's popularity and profitability. Construction began to improve the roadways near the famous market to draw in more visitors and promote tourism which would ultimately support the local economy.
The modern techniques utilized by the ongoing Srinagar Smart City Project have bypassed the problems that harsh weather conditions presented, obstructing the developmental work.
"There used to be a break of one month or forty days in Kashmir. During this time no works related to cement were done. However, we now continued our work with cement even during these times by taking adequate care and using admixtures because of which we have saved a lot of time", said Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo, Chief Engineer of SSCP while speaking to ANI.
Many other projects, such as the beautification of the Bund riverside, improvements of the Jhelum Ghats, renovation and conservation of shrines, and the development of smart centres in the city have also been completed under Srinagar Smart City.
The developmental work under the Project is still ongoing, however. There are 34 projects which are underway in addition to 64 upcoming projects. Plans also include the development of several modern amenities like Smart water and power meters, bicycle sharing services, the introduction of bio-toilets, the introduction of electric public transport, multilevel parking lots and the development of sewerage connection networks.
There are many investments also being made by the private sector, in particular, to improve connectivity in the region and to establish 5G network capabilities in the city.
For example, Jio recently announced the launch of True 5G services in the region. These services were launched by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha.
These major investments, conservation and renovation projects, the development of modern amenities and the initiatives undertaken by local artists will make the lives of the 1.35 million people who call Srinagar home easier, and will further attract tourists which will support the GDP of the state and the nation. (ANI)