In one of the most marathon tours undertaken so far, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Monday criss-crossed the Srinagar city to make on-the-spot assessment of the ongoing work on tourism, pilgrim and developmental projects in the summer capital.
Amid rain, Mufti visited the historic Jama Masjid at Nowhatta, Asar-i-Sharief Hazratbal, Khanqah-e-Moula Zainakadal, Nehru Park, Char Chinari and Sona Lank in Dal lake, Badam Wari in the walled city, Idgah, Kashmir Haat, Indoor Stadium, Sangarmal, Kashmir Golf Club, Estate Quarters at Pampore, Pantha Chowk, as well as Amar Singh Club.
While visiting the Jamia Masjid Complex at Nowhatta, Mufti Sayeed went inside and around the sacred premises. “He issued instructions for underground cabling of the electric wires and improving the facilities at Wazu Khana,” the govt spokesman said. Presently, the wires are cluttered shabbily on the electric poles which are affecting the ambience. He also asked the Chief Engineer, PDD, to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the historic Mosque.
The Chief Minister issued directions to Commissioner SMC to identify land for construction of a Community-cum-Marriage Hall to facilitate the people residing in the areas adjoining the Jamia Masjid.
Earlier, Mufti Sayeed paid obeisance at the holy Asar-i-Sharief Shrine at Hazrtabal. He also reviewed the beautification project of the shrine precincts, which includes marble cladding of the minaret, being done at cost of Rs 3.60 crore.
“During his visit to Khanqah-e-Moula at Zainakadal, the Chief Minister issued directions to Chief Engineer, R&B to prepare a detailed plan for construction of a footbridge from Khanqah-e-Moula to Pather Masjid to facilitate the pilgrims and residents living in the nearby areas. He also asked Director Tourism to improve the facilities under pilgrim tourism at the holy shrine,” the govt statement said.
While undertaking extensive tour of the Dal Lake, the Chief Minister visited Char Chinari and Sona Lank islands. He asked Director Tourism to make arrangements for starting cultural evenings and Dunga cruises for providing entertainment to heritage tourists. He also called for shoreline development of Sona Lank and construction of pedestrian walkway along NPL from Nishat to Doldum area.
Mufti Sayeed issued directions to VC LAWDA to complete the acquisition process for setting into motion the realignment of houseboats so that these are connected to a common sewerage treatment plant. He was informed that clusterization of houseboats at Doldum will be undertaken on a fast-track basis.
“The Government will also prepare a package for the Dal dwellers, who are shifting to Rakh-e-Arth at Bemina so that their issues of sustained livelihood are taken care of,” the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister inspected the present status of work on J&K ERA-executed Jahangir Chowk-Ram Bagh Flyover during which he was briefed about the alignment of Elevated Expressway Corridor of the project. The project, being taken up under Urban Sector Development Investment Programme (USDIP) of ERA with aid from ADB, is expected to be completed by March 2017.
While reviewing the four-lanning of Boulevard-Kralsangri Road, at Nehru Park, Mufti Sayeed was informed that the project envisages a total cost of Rs. 33.43 crore which shall be undertaken under CRF. The project envisages acquisition of land which shall be State’s equity in the Central project.
The Chief Minister directed Chief Engineer, R&B, to also keep a provision for a dedicated cycle track within the project.
At Pantha Chowk, the Chief Engineer, R&B, also briefed the Chief Minister about the present status of 2.80 km long Pantha Chowk-Zewan four-lanning / widening project, being taken up at a cost of Rs. 25.75 crore, comprising Rs. 17.71 crore acquisition cost and Rs. 8.04 crore development cost.
Mufti Sayeed also visited Idgah, where he passed directions for finding a permanent solution to the persisting problem of water-logging. The Chief Engineer UEED was directed to ensure that drain and sewer lines are properly laid and connected. Director Tourism was asked to coordinate with the Floriculture Department and the J&K Wakaf Board to immediately take up the beautification of Idgah Complex beginning next month. He also directed VC Wakaf Board to prepare a renovation plan for development of the revered Aali Masjid.
At Badam Wari, which is being maintained and developed by J&K Bank, the Chief Minister issued instructions to Director Tourism to take up with the concerned agencies the laying of a mini-ropeway from the almond orchard to the JKTDC restaurant on the Hari Parbat hillock. He also called for holding weekend cultural functions in the Badam Wari to provide add-on facilities to the tourists and locals visiting the garden. Chairman, J&K Bank, Mushtaq Ahmad, briefed the Chief Minister about the steps taken by the Bank in developing the garden as a major tourist attraction in the heart of the old walled city.
The Chief Minister also visited the Sultan-ul-Arifeen school and the site for construction of Bibi Halima Nursing College, near Kathi Darwaza.
At the Sangarmal Complex, Mufti Sayeed passed directions for merging eight kanals of land belonging to Estates Department with Sangarmal Complex which shall enable the commercial complex to have a front-side view facing the Maulana Azad Road. “We will organize amusement and entertainment programmes at Sangarmal to make it an ideal destination for people,” he added.
In a major fillip to indoor sports, the Chief Minister issued on-the-spot directions at the Indoor Stadium Complex for starting school and college-level inter-district and other co-related activities. Expressing serious concern over the under-utilization of the infrastructure created, he passed directions to the concerned authorities for making the complex accessible to children who are inclined towards taking up indoor sports in a big way.
At Raj Bagh, the Chief Minister was briefed by the Chief Engineer, I&FC about the steps taken by the department to fortify the Jhelum embankments, which had weakened following the September flood fury. He asked CE, I&FC and Director Tourism to prioritize dredging of the riverbed and strengthening and landscaping of the Jhelum bunds up to Chattabal Veer. The Chief Minister was informed that river cruises will begin from May 12 next month which will take the visitors to historic places like LD Memorial, Shergarhi, Khanqah-e-Moula, Maharaj Gunj and the Hazrat Bul Bul Shah (RA) shrine.
During his visit to Kashmir Haat, the Chief Minister issued instructions to Director Handicrafts to take steps for making the Haat year-round Crafts Centre that showcases genuine handicrafts products of the State. He asked the concerned authorities to take preventive steps to check water-logging of the areas surrounding the Haat.
Mufti Sayeed also visited the multi-level commercial-cum-parking complex being established at Sheikh Bagh as well as parking slot at Old State Motor Garages premises. He directed VC SDA to revisit the Sheikh Bagh parking complex by dedicating more land for parking purpose and creating add-on paraphernalia so that it becomes a template for other commercial parking places in the city centre.
Later, the Chief Minister visited Pampore to review the ongoing work on Staff Quarters being constructed by J&K Estates Department. Director Estates, Dr. G. N. Itoo, informed the Chief Minister that 400 flats are being constructed at an estimated cost of Rs. 90.65 crore.
Mufti Sayeed also viewed a presentation given by Chief Engineer, PHE, M. A. Lankar, about the present status of 10 MGD Water Supply Scheme, Tangnar, which is being constructed at a total cost of Rs. 148 crore. He was informed that Rs. 101 crore have so far been utilized and 80% of the work on the project has been completed.