Jammu, Srinagar turn Smart under ‘Naya Jammu and Kashmir’

JAMMU, Sept 7: Over 276 projects have been approved by the Centre in the last three years under the “Smart City Mission” in Jammu and Srinagar to transform these cities into vibrant centres having all the facilities, said the officials on Wednesday.
These projects are aimed at strengthening urban infrastructure, improving city services, public aesthetics, ease of living and providing a clean and sustainable environment to the citizens in “Naya Jammu and Kashmir.”
The transformation of Jammu and Srinagar cities from highly congested and underdeveloped urban areas to ‘Smart Cities’ is yet another achievement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led dispensation which “bit the bullet’ on August 5, 2019 and ended the 70-year-long so-called special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The “Smart City” projects focus on improved urban governance. Effective steps are being taken to ensure that these projects are completed within the stipulated deadlines.
“Mission Smart Cities” was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015, for the development of 100 Smart Cities across the country. The idea was envisaged with an aim to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people across the country. Jammu and Srinagar cities were selected by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in the third round of competition held in June 2017.
Till August 5, 2019–when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories–no major steps were taken to turn Jammu and Srinagar into Smart Cities. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led government played politics over the issue and not much progress was made towards implementing Smart City projects in the twin capitals of the erstwhile state.
For 70 years heritage cities were ignored
Both Jammu and Srinagar are heritage cities but for the past 70 years, not much attention was paid to turning these into vibrant cities. Both the cities remained congested and mismanaged. Heritage sites were ignored and no serious effort was put in to bring these to par with the urban areas in other parts of the country.
Scrapping of Article 370, a temporary provision in the Constitution, transformed the fate of both cities. The Srinagar and Jammu Smart City projects have been structured with a clear focus on improving urban governance and unlocking the latent creativity and vitality of the historical cities.
Jammu and Srinagar are headed towards becoming eco-friendly, resilient and socio-economically vibrant cities as both these urban areas are blessed with natural and cultural heritage.
The digital delivery of urban services like availing services of government departments in twin cities, including building permission, no-objection certificates for commercial activities, birth and death certificates and corrections have made lives easy for the common man.
Srinagar Smart City
Under ‘Smart City Mission’ Srinagar has got EV charging stations, smart street lighting, multi-level parking, sports infrastructure, a water transport system in Jhelum river, ornamental LED lighting around Dal-lake, pathways and kiosks along Jhelum River Bund.
The beautification of bund along Jhelum River, revetment and embankments of river banks, improvement of ghats, area illumination along river banks, pedestrian walkways and footpaths, boardwalks, walkways and cycle tracks have given a new look to Srinagar city.
The projects that are coming up in Srinagar City include the construction of the Traditional Souq Market and Craft Centre at Batamaloo at an estimated cost of Rs 31.22 crores, improvement and upgrading of the Batamaloo-Qamarwari Road at a cost of Rs 14.61 crores and the Batamaloo-Mominabad Road at a cost of Rs 10.24 crores, besides the Rs 25.46-crore worth Gole Market-Karan Nagar Road redevelopment project.
The Traditional Souq Market and Craft Centre at Batamaloo will include a retail facility for handicrafts, dry fruits, spices and other special items of Kashmir, besides a dedicated plaza for cultural activities, exhibitions, and a separate organised vending zone.
Integrated Command and Control Centre and SMC’s Drainage Scheme at Shalteng in Srinagar outskirts under Srinagar Smart City Initiative are acting as the situation room of the city, integrating civic operations and creating opportunities for data-driven decision making. Facilities are providing a single platform aimed at monitoring and addressing public issues on a real-time basis. The holistic approach to the functioning of Srinagar Smart City is aimed at achieving five long-term goals-smart mobility, smart economy, smart environment, smart living and smart governance. The technological interventions have brought efficiency to urban governance.
Under the Srinagar, Smart City project overhead cables providing electrical power are being replaced with underground cables. An online public feedback mechanism has been developed to register complaints about water scarcity and electricity disruptions.
Jammu Smart City
Besides Srinagar, Jammu city to has witnessed a massive development during the past three years, a ramp-based multi-car parking has been constructed at a cost of Rs 201.66 crore at General Bus Stand with a capacity of 80 buses and 1312 cars. Other projects which have been completed are Reverse Vending Machine, Refuse Compactor, Two Bin Segregation Dust Bins, GPS enabled Vehicles for waste collection, City Chowk Parking and Smart Bus stops.
These new initiatives are catering to the needs of J&K people with a vision to enable them to use modern IT and other interventions to access seamless information and better service delivery.
Under the Smart City Mission, Jammu City is all set to transform into a sustainable and economically vibrant centre with a focus on tourism, quality of life and trade.
The building of the Tawi riverside, an ambitious project for the city of temples, has improved its overall appearance and provided new opportunities for tourism and economic development in Jammu city.
Recently LG Manoj Sinha inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of 14 projects of Jammu Smart City worth Rs 113 crore. The projects included “Facade Lighting of Mubarak Mandi,” the priceless heritage of the Dogra Dynasty, and street development from Mubarak Mandi to Raghunath Bazar. Once the project is completed in June 2023, Raghunath Bazar, Jain Bazar, Kanak Mandi, and Moti Bazar will emerge as a smart commercial hub and will also provide new opportunities for economic growth to the existing businesses.
Another street development project from Canal Road to Talab Tillo Chowk costing Rs 20 crore has been planned in Jammu city.
For effective management of the transport system in Jammu and Srinagar cities, Intelligent Transport Management System (ITMS) is being put in place. The ITMS usage would improve the mobility of people and goods, increase safety, reduce traffic congestion and manage incidents effectively.
Under the Smart City project the first elevated light rail transit system has been approved to decongest the twin cities of Jammu and Srinagar. The Jammu Light Rail System will have a 23-kilometre length with 22 stations between Bantalab and Bari Brahmana while Srinagar Light Rail System will have a 25-kilometre length.
Jammu, and Srinagar emerging as eco-cities
To transform Srinagar and Jammu cities from crowded cities into pedestrian and cycle-friendly cities in the country cycling track and walkways are coming up at important places. Steps have been taken to develop smart urban mobility, electric transport system, cycling tracks, and special walkways for pedestrians.
Jammu and Srinagar cities are emerging as eco-cities for sustainable economic activities. The projects that have been initiated under Smart City Mission have transformed the very concept of governance in the Himalayan region. The cities that were only known as summer and winter capitals of the erstwhile J&K State for the past seven decades have transformed into Model Cities during the past three years. Facilities that are being extended to the people were unthinkable till August 5, 2019, when the dispensation led by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi abrogated the so-called special status of Jammu and Kashmir and integrated it with the Union of India. (AGENCIES)