SRINAGAR: In a move set to redefine the cityscape and revive historic water routes, Srinagar is gearing up to introduce battery-powered boats as part of a new public transport network early 2024. These will manage public transport requirements for the people living within the lake and also link the cultural spaces located on the banks of Jhelum.
The plan envisions a fleet of 32 battery-powered boats crisscrossing the Dal lake’s five basins, including the Nehru Park, Nishat Bagh, Hazratbal, Nigeen, and Barari Nambal basins. To achieve this, extensive dredging will be undertaken on waterways such as the Dalgate-Rainawari route, reviving access to areas like the Shalimar Garden that were previously only accessible from the lake.
“We are all set to introduce water transport on the Dal Lake and Jhelum river in Srinagar to decongest and offer an alternative mode of public transport,” Anuj Malhotra, the General Manager of Planning at Srinagar Smart City Limited has told The Hindu newspaper. “The process of approving boat samples is in its final stage. Two types of boats — eight-seaters and 20-seaters — will be introduced in the first phase by next year.”
These boats are expected to offer transportation to the people living in the lake and the Jhelum River.
The initiative also marks the reopening of Dal lake’s backwaters to visitors, offering a unique experience reminiscent of the Mughal era when empresses used these waterways to access the fabled gardens at the base of the Zabarwan hills.