The Govt of Union Territory J&K recently concluded a programme My Town my Pride after Back to Village a successful programme having first hand access to all developmental requirements at the grass root level of panchyats of union territory. That requires to be immediately attended in mobilizing authorities to improve the general standard of living conditions to match present expectations and aspirations in rural areas and semi urban localities.
This programme has been coordinated extensively in areas which often remained beyond the general purview of official machinery while drafting the developmental programmes and its follow up .The authorities compiled first hand physical check on the spot, enquired and made verification to ascertain its urgency and genuineness for general benefit of the villages and towns to see the impact of ongoing developmental progressive schemes of Centre and UT Govt.
Reportedly these programmes have started delivering the dividends as more data has been compiled of various factors which required urgent attention to devise plans,how to address it on long and short term basis making local stake holders as active participants. It looks to be a progressive step initiated and needs to urban areas where dream of a smart city has been visioned .
As cities fall in urban areas there are face of cultural centres of the UT and are in mode of upgradation into smart Cities. It needs equal attention to be revisited by senior functionaries of various developmental agencies to see all roadblocks ahead of its programme of having dream cities to match with the best cities of the country. The efforts which require reorientation for development are sanitation, public hygiene, uninterrupted power supply, fixing unfenced tranformers stations , over hanging live wires, water supply, number of sports stadiums , parks and gardens with open gyms, children amusement park, urban forestry, health services , smooth traffic management , pollution checkmetres , functioning of parking slots, condition of roads with no bump and potholes.
The congested localities in old unplanned city with augementation of street lights in alleys and byelanes. The water logging especially during rainy season, certain areas are prone to water logging on a slight drizzle resulting in overflowing drains on roads that are usual irritants that require proper gradient for smooth flow.
The menace of wild growth of unwanted shrubs on river fronts used by drug peddlars need proper manicure which could add ambience to city. Scope of river transport and ferry service to be used for tourist and children water amusement parks, fish ponds , with laid out morning walkers paths along a treeline.
The heritage centres which require refurbishment unfortunately is lingering with slow pace delaying to revive its importance of rich cultural centres to be repaired to be make city attractive especially in Jammu to get reminded of old tradition of art and architecture.
Certain plain localities need to be encouraged for cycling to reduce pollution level and for physical fitness.Traffic to be made totally digitally managed. To cater to needs of senior citizens some recreational facilities for reading, indoor games , health check ups can be conceived.
Jammu and Srinagar cities are very important places and are growth engines for industries, tourism, pilgrimage nodal centres, educational hubs, cultural Conference activities, sports events, exhibitions, handicrafts which will add to the over all business and economy of the cities , to towns and further onwards to villages. Environment of opportunities for investment will flow in a big way when most of the smart schemes are placed on ground in cities with single window system for timely response.
Scientific temperament by way of laying scientific centres, museums,birds sanctuary, botanical gardens for school children. All national and regional important historical statues to be added at important crossections of cities to inspire and motivate younger generations and outsiders who visit. The observatory , bird sanctuary, use of Govt Educational infrastructre,Canal , waterbodies to be extensively explored for proper utilization adding to the general ambience of city environs.
A combined team of all departments in coordination with Municipal Corporations can visit all the wards under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners with all developmental Departments to upgrade the existing facilities on spot to see that the administartion is at door step to take decisions on all nagging issues of city interiors which remain unattended and are ignored as they remaied away from the gaze of media and authorities thus brewing resenment among the city people.
There are many urban developmental schemes which need to be relooked to benefit city dewellers at a fast pace with all pending legal cases resolved amicabally. Among urban youth a high percentage are unemployed, they can be made aware ,guided to develop skills to make them earn a decent earning lest they may fall on evil ways of drug abuse or any other anti social activity.Mother and child welfare , sanitation schemes to be given impetus especially in migrant colonies.
A uniform pattern of improvement of cities can be managed within the available resources to reinvigorate all units especially the Health centres to meet the emergent need to reduce the pressure on main hospitals in view of prevailing pandemic of corona .
The local people need to be included as active stakeholder besides getting support of Corporate and Business Houses to be participants of cities pride by way of extending resources to authorities to make a big headway for a smart city of dreams.
The author is IPS Officer (Retd.)