Mehbooba Mufti moots separate development plans for Srinagar, Jammu

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Srinagar | Published: May 21, 2016 10:37:06 PM

To bring about rapid growth of the two capital cities in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today mooted separate development plans for Srinagar and Jammu districts...

To bring about rapid growth of the two capital cities in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today mooted separate development plans for Srinagar and Jammu districts keeping in view the requirement for additional funds.

“Due to the rising population of capital cities and the corresponding requirement of better amenities, delinking Srinagar and Jammu from District Plan funding pattern will go a long way in addressing the concerns of the people,” Mehbooba said chairing the District Development Board (DDB) meeting of Srinagar at SKICC here.

She directed Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu to devise a mechanism for conceiving separate development plans by taking into consideration the specific needs and demands of both the capital cities.

Described Srinagar as the heart of the Valley, the chief minister assured time-bound development of the summer capital which received a major setback in the 2014 floods.

“There is a need to shift to Capital City Plans as funding under District Plans has largely been incommensurate with the rapidly-expanding boundaries of Srinagar and Jammu cities,” she observed.

After deliberating for nearly six hours, the DDB headed by the Chief Minister, approved an Annual CAPEX Budget of Rs 100.29 crore for 2016-17.

In her maiden address as Chairman of DDB Srinagar, she said the summer capital would continue to receive focused attention vis-a-vis proper sewerage and drainage network, restoration of encroached public spaces to decongest city centre, improving connectivity by upgradation of roads, fortifying embankments and dredging of Jhelum river so that the destruction inflicted by 2014 floods is not repeated.

Asking legislators to approach her in case of any delay in completion of projects, Mehbooba said she is carrying forward the roadmap which former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had sketched for development of Srinagar.

During the board meeting, legislators, cutting across party lines, had unanimously raised the issue of much-lower CAPEX Budget allocation for a big district like Srinagar, as compared to most of the other districts in the state which have a far greater allocation.

Calling for complete synergy between various departments involved in infrastructure building and implementation of various welfare schemes, Mehbooba said she has ordered strict adherence to timelines for completion of all ongoing projects.

The Chief Minister said in view of a limited working season in Kashmir Valley, work in night shifts on ongoing projects, where adequate funding is available, should be explored by the concerned executing agencies.

Referring to the decision to hold all DDB meetings ahead of the Annual Budget Session, Mehbooba said it will enable the government to allocate funds for some of the genuine demands raised by the legislators.

Described the relocation of vendors and street hawkers to identified spots in the city centre as a step towards enabling them to earn their livelihood with dignity and honour, she said, “This will facilitate smooth movement of traffic and restore pedestrian walkways, thus bringing huge relief to the people.”

Mehbooba also directed Deputy Commissioner Srinagar to fast-track all land acquisition cases so that bottlenecks in widening of roads in the city are removed.

She also suggested shifting of some government buildings to city outskirts, thereby allowing the government to create much-needed space for creation of public utility infrastructure.

Drawing attention of the participants towards the heritage treasure trove, Mehbooba asked the Culture Department to conceptualize a plan for conservation of historic Maharaja Bazaar, Khanqah-e-Moula, Budshah locality and the walled downtown city.

Raising concern over rising urban poverty, she suggested promotion of environment-friendly vocational activities for women like making of jute bags, which she said can be an ideal alternative to the banned polythene bags.

She also emphasized upon skill development centres, especially in Shahr-e-Khaas, for promotion of handicrafts as well as artisans.

Asking Irrigation and Flood Control Department to expedite dredging and desilting of river Jhelum right from Anantnag, Srinagar to Baramulla, the Chief Minister said she will personally monitor the pace of work so that the state is better prepared to face the vagaries of weather.

She also stressed upon revival of water transport by starting river cruises on Anantnag-Srinagar, Srinagar-Sopore and Srinagar-Baramulla routes, which can become a huge attraction for the visitors.

The Chief Minister also issued directions to the Power Development Department for providing uninterrupted power supply during ‘Sehri and Iftaar’ time in the upcoming fasting month of Ramadhan so that people do not face any hardships.

She referred to her review meetings and tours in the last one month during which she took firsthand appraisal of various projects and expenditure booked under Centrally-Sponsored Schemes (CSSs).

“A number of prestigious projects in roads and buildings, tourism, health, education, PHE and irrigation and flood control sectors have been taken up which will help in restoration of basic services to the people,” she said and assured to transform the urban landscape of Srinagar.

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