Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam on Saturday held a joint meeting with the Mayor of Srinagar, Junaid Mattu where officers of the Divisional Administration, District Administration, and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation were present. They extensively reviewed various ongoing and future projects related to mobility, solid waste management and beautification of the Srinagar city. They called for out-of-box ideas for holistic development on the State’s summer capital which has been plagued by the host of issues.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed, Commissioner SMC, Peerzada Hafizullah, SSP Srinagar and SSP Traffic and officers from Srinagar Development Authority also attended the meeting.
Mattu briefed the Chief Secretary about a host of projects proposed by the Mayor’s office for the beautification of Srinagar city including a number of proposals for solid waste management. He said a plan is under consideration to make compost out of solid waste.
Complimenting the Mayor for his enthusiasm and keenness to work for the welfare of the people of the city, Chief Secretary said Mayors of the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu are among the key public representatives and the civil and police administration must extend full cooperation to their offices to deliver on their promises of development.
On the project document prepared by the Urban Development Department on Solid Waste Management, Chief Secretary directed the concerned to improve it further before being implemented.
On the issue of dog menace, the Mayor briefed the Chief Secretary that while the dog-bite cases are under control, the Corporation is also exploring the option of building a facility on the outskirts of Srinagar for dogs. Chief Secretary directed the SDA to expedite the process for land acquisition.
Regarding rehabilitation of street vendors who frequently encroach the city roads, the Mayor said the issue has to be dealt with in a humane way taking into consideration their livelihood. He directed SMC Commissioner to freeze the list of hawkers in Srinagar city who need to be rehabilitated and submit it to the Government for further appropriate action.
“The government and Municipal Corporation will explore the option of having flea markets like New Delhi’s Janpath. Incentives will be given to attract shopkeepers which will decongest Srinagar to a large extent. The solution to the problem of hawkers must be sustainable and permanent,” they said.
Expressing concern over the delay in the demarcation of commercial and residential space in Srinagar, Chief Secretary called for better coordination between civil, police administration and the SMC in order to ensure strict compliance of the municipal laws. SMC Commissioner was asked to freeze the list of hawkers in Srinagar city who need to be rehabilitated.
Chief Secretary took note of the absence of uniform signage or colour on the public transport running in Srinagar city, “All buses and other passenger vehicles should be colour-coded and must have common signage. A night bus service from six to twelve should be started in Srinagar to improve public mobility during night hours,” he said.
Chief Secretary directed the DC to verify the number of route permits issued in Srinagar and send a copy to his office. He said the government will float tenders for building 100 eco-friendly bus bays across Srinagar city. He also directed the traffic police to ensure strict compliance of municipal laws so that public transport stops at designated places which, he said, often causes traffic snarls. The SMC would move for around 100 bus stops in the city.
Chief Secretary also underlined the demand for public and community gymnasiums in Srinagar city. The Srinagar mayor proposed that the existing community halls under SMC can provide space to which the CS committed full financial support of the government.
“Srinagar is a city of bridges and the Corporation must prepare a detailed plan for installing decorative lighting and seating on these bridges to make them social spaces where friends and families can come and interact with each other. Srinagar should be full of lights,” he said. The DC mentioned that 12 spots have been identified on Jhelum bund which will be developed into social spaces.
The Mayor asked the SMC to send out the ward officers for carrying out street lighting census in Srinagar. “The SMC proposal to bring an automated street lighting system which will be included in Smart City project,” he said.
SMC will build extra community toilets while installing bio-toilets outside tourist place in the city, “Public toilets and other facilities for women should be an essential part of the developmental plan for Srinagar,” the Mayor said.
On the issue of traffic management, the Chief Secretary was briefed that the ongoing flyover and grade separator construction, major traffic volume in evenings, roadside vendors and lack of parking spaces were adding to the problem of mobility in Srinagar city where 30,000 cars cross Abdullah bridge under normal circumstances.
Chief Secretary asked Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to explore various options, in consultation with the experts, on how to moderate traffic movement on Abdullah Bridge including construction of another bridge in the vicinity.
He directed the traffic department to undertake a survey for a comprehensive traffic light system in Srinagar city.
While the weather is going to remain mostly wet as winter sets in, the Mayor pointed out the need for dewatering pumps. The Chief Secretary asked the SMC to prepare the estimate for water sucker requirement in Srinagar by Monday and include the funding for new drains in budget proposals.
He said although the capital has shifted to Jammu for the next six months, residents of Srinagar will not be allowed to suffer and the senior government functionaries will be regularly visiting Kashmir to take stock of the issues facing the people.
“Prepare estimates for all the projects envisaged by the SMC and send it to Finance/ HUD by December 10. As the budget is coming up, whatever the financial requirements you have, push them into the budget,” he said.
Chief Secretary listed out various other measures to be taken by Srinagar Municipal Corporation that will change the way of life in Srinagar city and asked the SMC to project the financial requirement in the next year’s budget.