Infrastructure in Amirakadal improves, major projects still incomplete

Ex-MLAs’ Report Card Constituency: Amirakadal
Ex-MLAs’ Report Card Constituency: Amirakadal

Waseem Ahmad

AMIRAKADAL: Although majority of the residents of Amirakadal constituency say that the infrastructure over the years has improved and civic issues were addressed in most of the areas but they are still facing problems due to non-completion of some vital projects.
The constituency was represented by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Syed Altaf Bukhari, who defeated Nasir Aslam Wani of National Conference (NC) by a huge margin of 5341 votes in 2014 Assembly elections. Bukhari polled 11726 and Wani 6385. Bukhari has recently resigned from the PDP.
The constituency is spread over the areas of Rangreth, Rawalpora, Parraypora, Hyderpora, Galwanpora, Nadri Gund, Gangbugh, Methan, Chhanpora, Nowgam, Gulshan Nagar, Natipora, Mehjoor Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Kursu, Gadhanzpur, Aramwari, Rajbagh, Wazir Bagh, Lal Mandi, Goni Khan, Sarai Bala, Hari Singh High-street, Haft Chinar, Court road, Maisuma, Sathu Barbar Shah, Chinar Bagh, Peerzu, Abi Guzar, Ikrajpora, Radio Colony, Ram Bagh and Barzulla.
One of the major projects that has not been completed is the construction of Jehangir Chowk- Rambagh flyover. The much hyped project is executed by Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (JKERA) with Simplex Infra Limited as project contractors and the ambitious Rs 350 crore project missed several deadlines since the work began on it.
The construction work of flyover will considerably reduce the traffic congestion in Srinagar City Centre and provide quick access to International Airport. However, the first deadline for the completion of the project was set as September 2016 and then another deadline of August 2017 was set which also was missed. The latest deadline missed by the executing agency for the completion of the Phase-II of the project was December 31, 2018.
Earlier, the Phase-I of the flyover from Amar Singh College to Barzulla bridge was completed in the month of May last year and was thrown open for the traffic.
Residents said that when Bukhari was Works Minister, work on the project got major boost and since then the pace has again gone down.
Another project that has not been completed in the constituency is the TRC Grade separator. To overcome congestion and traffic jam at the TRC junction, the work on the Grade Separator began in 2015 and was scheduled to be completed by December 2016 but till date the project is still incomplete.
The residents of several areas including Natipora, Chhanpora and Mehjoor Nagar said that drainage system is functional and almost all the roads which were dug last year for the construction of drains have been macadamized. They said that the power situation over the years has also improved.
However, residents of some colonies in these areas said that during rainy season the drains overflow and water enters into houses through the drainage pipes and the power disruptions are frequent.
The residents of Mehjoor Nagar said that the area has seen improvement over the years. “Drainage system has improved and almost all the roads are macadamized”, Mohammad Hafeeez, a resident said. He, however, added that after 2014 floods, the feasibility of broadband has been hampered in the area and the pace on some projects including the fencing of a ground and work on a receiving station is very slow.
The residents of Jawahar Nagar said that the dog menace is worst in the area. “Near the DAV school the SMC is dumping waste and dogs can be seen roaming in the area. We had approached the former MLA time and again but the problem has worsened”, they added.
Residents said that the area has been turned into commercial area illegally. The commercial complexes and hotels have come up in Jawahar Nagar, Gogjibagh, Wazir Bagh, Rajbagh and other areas in violation of Srinagar Master Plan. The High Court had ordered sealing but the ruling party intervened and the area has now myriad problems of traffic jam, pollution and drinking water shortage.
The residents of Hari Singh High Street, Sarai Bala, said that they have severe problem of water logging in the area. Shopkeepers said that from Sari Bala towards Magarmal Bagh Chowk the shops remains closed during rains due to water logging.
Shopkeepers in Hari Singh High Street said that the footpath has been taken over by the vendors and it is creating problems for them. “Half of the road is under parking and pedestrians have to walk on main road and it leads to traffic jams”, they said.
The residents said that they raised these issues with the former MLA but there was no improvement.
Another project that is incomplete in the constituency is the construction of an Indoor sports hall at Polo Ground. After passing more than five years since the construction work was started, the project is still incomplete. While sports enthusiasts and locals claim that its construction has ruined the famous Polo ground as well.
The residents of Gangbugh area on the outskirts of Srinagar belonging to this constituency complained that a foot bridge in their area which was washed away in 2014 floods was never rebuild till date due to which they have to face hardships. They said that the former MLA had promised them but so far no bridge was constructed.
Bashir Ahmad, a local, said that the Government Middle School Gangbugh is functioning from a rented accommodation while construction of building for the school has been left mid way. “About 13 years have passed since the construction of the school building was started but the building is still incomplete and has been left unattended since then. We approached former MLA regarding this issue but there is no headway,” Bashir said.
The residents said that the drainage system has been improved in the area but still more work needs to be done and the inner roads have not been macadamized.
One of the major problems in the constituency is the roads and footpaths at Lalchowk, Amirakadal bridge, Hari Singh High Street and near LD hospital taken by the street vendors. “Although some vendors were rehabilitated behind SRTC yard but majority of the street vendors still occupy footpaths and roadsides due to which the daily commuters are facing immense hardships,” Irfan Mumtaz, a daily commuter said
When contacted ex-MLA, Amirakadal constituency, Altaf Bukhari said that 70 percent development of the constituency is complete and there is more that need to be done. “If I have to rate the development of the constituency, I would say 70 percent of the development has been completed and 30 percent more needs to be done,” he said
Bukhari said Amirakadal was one of the most affected constituencies during 2014 floods in the Valley and he did his best to develop it. “My constituency was the most devastated constituency in 2014 floods as about 90 percent affect of floods was in this constituency. Nobody can make out now that this was the same constituency which was affected in floods. I do not say that I have done everything but I tried my best and there is much more to be done. I focused on every issue in the constituency, be it Education, Healthcare, Roads, Drainage, Tourism sector and I am happy that I was able to develop the constituency. If elected again, I will try to complete the pending 30 percent development of the constituency,” he said.
When asked about non-completion of some vital developmental projects, Bukhari said that the projects got delayed due to the unrest of 2016 that affected all the developmental works, otherwise they would have been completed.
As per the information received from ex-MLA, Altaf Bukhari’s office, the drainage work was executed at the cost of more than Rs 50 crores and the macdamization of approximately 200 kilometres of road was completed in various areas of the constituency.
In Tourism sector, it was said that various works were executed that includes development of commercial hub Lalchowk, Baghat chowk, face-lifting of many community centres, Tourism infrastructure at zero bridge, restoration of Joggers Park Rajbagh, beautification of Jhelum Bund on both sides, pathways along riversides from Aramwari to Amirakadal, development of shrines, Renovation of Pratap Park and various works are in the progress.
“Many Dewatering stations were installed in various areas of the constituency at the cost of Rs 42.017 while as various drainage schemes at Lalchowk, Gangbugh, Rahim Bagh and Nowgam were put on hold due to paucity of funds”, said the former MLA.
In education sector, former MLA said that the infrastructure was developed in Amar Singh College, S P College, College of Education and various schools like Higher Secondary school Rawalpora, Natipora and Kotibagh were up-graded and renovated. A college was also sanctioned in Hyderpora.
“Work on the development of infrastructure and upliftment of various play fields and stadiums including TRC Football ground, Polo ground, Gindun ground, Hari Nambal Natipora, Khal Natipora, Sikh Nambal Rangreth and Bakhshi stadium at the cost of Rs 961.53 lakhs in the constituency has been completed”, he said.


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