Describing Srinagar as a historic centre of authority and influence, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Thursday promised to build a new summer capital by integrating modern elements into the city’s rich heritage. “Srinagar is the heart of the state and we need to appreciate its centrality. We also need to improve its fundamentals by working on core sectors like connectivity, businesses, transport, water and drainage systems,” he added. The Chief Minister was speaking after laying foundation stones of new Mehjoor Bridge at Jawahar Nagar and Kissan Ghar at Raj Bagh, here this morning. Minister for Horticulture, Haj & Auqaf, A. R. Veeri, Minister for Revenue, Javaid Mustafa Mir, Minister for Public Works, Floriculture, Gardens & Parks, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Minister for Animal Husbandry and S&T, Sajad Ghani Lone, Minister of State for Power, H&UDD and I&C, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Legislators, Anjum Fazili and Khursheed Alam were also present on the occasion. Addressing huge public meetings at both the places, the Chief Minister unveiled his plan to focus on conceptualizing a new satellite township for nearly one lakh people from lower strata of the society within the precincts of the city. “With rising population, the housing has become a challenge which we need to take head on. It is almost impossible for four families to live under one roof,” he observed. The Chief Minister, during his review of SDA a couple of months back, had issued directions for firming up a comprehensive plan for construction of LIG and MIG residential colonies and flatted accommodation. Mufti Sayeed also emphasized upon rehabilitation of Dal dwellers at Rakhe-e-Arth, near Beminaso that the famed Dal lake can be promoted as a world heritage site. “Srinagar is one of the most beautiful cities. We will soon begin four-lanning of the Boulevard-Shalimar Road with dedicated pedestrian walkways and cycling tracks,” he stated. Describing as path-breaking the new Ladli Beti Scheme to provide social security to girl child, the Chief Minister urged the people not to discriminate between children on the basis of their gender. “Ladli Beti scheme will be launched in Srinagar in a big way on November 2. It is a very novel scheme where Rs.1,000 will be deposited every month in the account of the girl child born in a poor family in identified districts. This ensures that a girl gets Rs.6.5 lakh when she attains the age of 18,” he added. Mufti Sayeed assured the people of restoration of infrastructure damaged in devastating floods of 2014. “We are taking several measures for providing relief to affected people and making a comprehensive plan for alternate flood channel, strengthening embankments and dredging of rivers and spill-over channels,” he added. The Chief Minister made a special mention of handicraft and horticulture sectors which sustained the economy of the state during the days of turmoil. He said he wants to provide a level-playing field to the talented craftsmen, whose hands weave some of the most stunning handmade products in the world. On his plans to increase tourist footfall, Mufti Sayeed highlighted the efforts of the government to improve the city’s intake capacity, with focus on creation of high-end accommodation to attract niche tourists. “Bed capacity of 40,000 in Srinagar is not enough. We are taking several measures to improve footprint of tourists in the state, in particular Srinagar city,” he added. Earlier, the Chief Minister arrived at Jawahar Nagar and laid foundation of the new Mehjoor Bridge, which is being constructed by J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) at a cost of Rs. 18 crore under its ADB-funded Loan II of USDIP. The 105-metre two-laned bridge, which was long overdue, will be ready by December 2016 and will bring huge relief to the people residing in Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Raj Bagh, Padshahi Bagh, Lasjan and Summerbug areas. Later, the Chief Minister arrived at Rajbagh where he laid foundation of the new Kissan Ghar, which will provide much-needed space in the summer capital to fruit growers to market their produce. He also laid stress upon exposing the farmers to new technologies in vogue in high-density farming, which considerably reduce gestation period and ensure improvement in quality as well as quantity of the yield. The new Kissan Ghar at Raj Bagh will be a three-storied building with 24 rooms and will be constructed by Horticulture Promotion and Marketing Corporation at an estimated cost of Rs.10 crore. INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art & Cultural Heritage) will provide expert consultancy so that the traditional architecture is blended within the structure. Also present on the occasion where Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon, Commissioner / Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, M. A. Bukhari, DIG CKR, G.H. Bhat, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone and CEO ERA, Vinod Sharma.
2015 Kashmir Despatch