SUGGESTIONS FOR SRINAGAR MASTER PLAN – 2035
01) Recently Srinagar city has been enlisted as the smart city among the other 100 declared smart cities of the country. At the outset, we need to know what this smart city means and if its parameters have been considered in this Master Plan or need some modification.
02) Planned Housing with adequate free space: Well planned stepped housing colonies could be sited on hill-slopes facing south like Ganderbal to Dhara, which could have open sunlight, fresh breeze, efficient drainage, no flooding problem, ensured water supply, and electricity supply, solar power facilities etc. Such hill slopes are also available on Panthachok to Khunmoh etc. The colonies could be built by an agency following strictly the building bye-laws with no subsequent deviation by the beneficiaries. Selected spots could be provided with vertical expansion and flat system introduced as prevalent outside the valley. The requirement of the housing needs to be assessed according to the population growth and displacement of the people from the congested areas or water bodies. All establishment of new colonies should precede with provision of complete infrastructure like roads, drainage, sewerage, electrification etc.
03) Traffic Management on modern lines: Traffic planning is a branch of road traffic engineering, for which a separate wing in R&B Deptt. needs to be created to advise & monitor the proper geometrics of the road according to the IRC Code of practice. These shall include providing of lay-byes for the bus stands, design of road curves and intersections, level of foot paths with their design requirement, prescribed road markings, lanes demarcation, fixing of CCTV cameras at appropriate places to monitor violation of traffic rules for which the public need to be educated. In this connection there should be a compulsory well recognized school of driving to provide a certificate after passing out the course as is the practice in outside countries.
04) Road Networking, Market spaces, and Pavements: Road Networking needs to be designed according to the growing traffic demand. While as the number of vehicles are added every day irrespective of the consideration of available road space. This process needs to be limited within the parameters of the available road space, besides providing the required multistoried parking spaces adjacent to shopping malls. The prescribed rule of providing parking space in the basement floor in every shopping mall or future construction in the city needs to be got implemented by SMC in letter & spirit. This restriction has been violated by almost all the malls and calls for urgent action by the implementing agencies. Instead of allowing shops all along the new roads, spaces need to be earmarked for shopping centers with parking space and facilities of public utilities. Requirement of grade separators need to be visualized in the Master Plan and work carried out systematically. Our foot paths are generally not constructed according to the IRC specifications with the result pedestrians are often subjected to accidents/fractures. We must invite the best consultancy on the subject and strictly implement the same. For this a visit to Abu Dhabi by our planners could be most beneficial.
05) Along the crescent shaped Zabarwan foot hills we could plan a metro train relieving pressure on the boulevard avoiding the proposed widening of the road, besides serving as a tourist attraction overlooking the Dal lake. Besides, we could also plan a metro line along the bank of river Jhelum from Pampore to Chattabal with a few cross lines into the city.
06) Restoration of traditional graveyards, and their scientific management. The centuries old earmarked graveyards like Malakhah need to be restored after removing the unauthorized constructions by settling them in other colonies and a management body be created to provide for the carriage, digging of graves, and the covering of the graves with tomb stones etc. besides, planting of flowering bulbs and their upkeep. This would generate ensured employment among those connected with the profession. The management body must have an office equipped with telephone, vehicles, and other accessories needed for the purpose.
07) Smart Housing Projects in congested areas, like Core Area Srinagar, to create open spaces.
Under the Circular Road System some decongestion of the areas was executed earlier besides the construction of a few new bridges, but the work seems to have been slowed down for unknown reasons. The decongestion could be made more effective by construction of alternative accommodation in the flats or colonies to the displaced family and open spaces converted in to parks, schools, medical centres, shopping centres, parking areas etc.
08) Public Amenities, like street lights, Parks, Play grounds, Parking slots. The city is lacking in public amenities like the designed toilets in market places proportionate to the number of shops, with the result there is a general complaint that being a tourist place the city of Srinagar and other towns and tourist spots, does not have sufficient toilets provided with modern facilities and disposal system. Similarly the street lights already provided have been defunct for years together and there seems no one to look after these in spite of repeated requests to the concerned departments of electricity and SMC. A separate cell needs to be created to look after this aspect with proper regular maintenance. Spaces need to be earmarked for the Parks, Play grounds and Parking slots and the displaced families be provided with alternative housing in colonies or flats.
09) Cleaning of drains, creating sumps, and dewatering stations that work round the clock:The regular cleaning, upkeep, and maintenance of the surface and deep drains need to be entrusted to a single body, who be made responsible as its failure creates frequent public inconvenience and resentment. The sumps and dewatering stations of designed capacities need to be provided both electrical and diesel pumps to ensure round the clock functioning besides, the dewatering stations need to be relocated at a level higher that the HFL to avoid non functioning during floods as experienced in September-14 floods.
10) De-siltation and dredging of flood channels: Time bound de-siltation and dredging of FS channel besides, it extension beyond its tail end to Wular Lake need to be considered for its efficient functioning. All encroachments need to be removed without ant delay as the flood does not keep any timetable.
11) Restoration of Jhelum. Restoration of Jhelum to its regime width and depth needs to be ensured. Time bound dredging needs to be ensured by deployment of sufficient and designed dredgers and responsibility fixed for any delay as the flooding involves the risk of lives and the property. In this connection recommendations made in various seminars including that of the Institution of Engineers India J&K State Centre Srinagar and submitted to the Government from time to time need to be considered seriously to avoid a future catastrophe.
12) Straightening and beautification of dykes. The guide bunds need to be strengthened by properly designed structures with necessary beautification. If the channels passing through the European/Gulf /Chinese/Japanese cities could be maintained neat and clean, why can’t we? It needs to be given a serious thought being an international tourist place.
13) Inland Water Transport: A scheme for Inland Water Transport on River Jhelum from Pampore to Chattabal (to be extended in future to Khannabal on upstream and to Baramulla on downstream besides, Dal Lake & Wular Lake) was formulated in 1998 by SDA retaining M/S Rites as consultants and the DPR is gathering dust in the office of the Chief Engineer I&FC Department for unknown reasons. Besides providing an alternative mode of transport decongesting the present surface transport, it would provide a tourist attraction to moor through the historic city of Srinagar besides, boosting the trade on the river banks. The 50 seated mechanized vessels were designed to carry the passengers besides of a lesser number of seated tourist boats. The project needs to be implemented without any further delay.
14) Solid Waste Disposal: After conducting chemical tests in 1981, the consultants “M/S Universal Enviroscience” recommended setting up of Mechanical Compost Plant after a period of 5 years of sanitary land fill. The compost would be sold to the farmers at subsidized cost to enrich the soil as per practice in other cities of India including Delhi Muncipal Corporation. We have encroached on 1000 kanal wetland at Achan Eidgah instead and the process is on.
15) New Ganderbal Hydro-electric Project: Lately the good sense has prevailed after a loss of 15 years when infrastructure was undertaken for 93 MW New Ganderbal Hydroelectric Project – so close to Srinagar city having less transmission losses besides providing a water conductor for the city water supply.
16) Setting up BIS Licensed Laboratory: It is surprising to know that in J&K State, there is no BIS-licensed testing laboratory for materials to be used in the construction works or for the end products. This makes our structures unsafe, our expenses on the development works infractuous. At present such laboratory exists either in Roorkee or at Delhi. We must strongly plead for establishment of such a laboratory in Srinagar city. Spending crores on projects construction must make a provision of setting up a BIS licensed laboratory in view of the safety of the construction works.
Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE
Chairman IEI J&K SC Srinagar