Omar approves revitalization of Shahr-e-Khas

Excelsior Correspondent

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah taking presentation on roadmap prepared for holistic development of Shahr-e-Khas in a meeting at Srinagar on Tuesday.
Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah taking presentation on roadmap prepared for holistic development of Shahr-e-Khas in a meeting at Srinagar on Tuesday.

SRINAGAR, June 5: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah on Tuesday approved the holistic project of revitalization of Shahr-e-Khas (Old Srinagar City) focusing on its natural, cultural, craft and built heritage. He also gave nod to the project involving Rs. 24 crore for constructing of a 2 kilometre pedestrian Tourist Trail from Nawakadal to Cement Kadal (Chattabal) to develop craft bazaars, retail outlets, refreshment kiosks, production centres and other facilities. The main street will be pedestrian and if found feasible battery operated vehicles can be allowed along the street.
Taking presentation of the roadmap prepared under his directions for the holistic development of Shahr-e-Khas including promotion of craft clusters in 10 identified locations, at a high level meeting here, the Chief Minister also directed for working out a strategy for developing housing colonies for people living in congested areas of old Srinagar city.
Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretary Planning, B. B. Vyas, various Commissioner Secretaries and senior officers were present in the meeting.
Omar Abdullah said that the main objective of the new development concept translated into a holistic project for revitalization of Shahr-e-Khas is aimed at providing necessary succour to a large population of artisans by developing craft clusters, generating economic activities, encouraging tourist flow, developing palatable lung places and upgrading basic amenities alongwith beautification of the historic Srinagar city.
The Chief Minister said that involvement of Tourism and Housing and Urban Development Departments should be factored in the overall roadmap aimed at comprehensive development of Shahr-e-Khas and the artisans. He stressed on dovetailing the efforts to obtain effective and meaningful results within the fixed time frame.
The new concept for construction of Heritage Craft Tourist Trail from Nawakadal to Cement Kadal (Chattabal) and construction of River Front Craft Plaza has been derived from the existing similar heritage sites established in Muscat (Oman), New York, China (Chengdu) and Sabermati (India). The project also involves upgradation of the street pavement, covering of drains, laying of sewer lines, underground electric cabling, development of litterbins at every 200 meters, solar street lights at every 200 meters, street furniture and signages, refreshment kiosks, public conveniences, diagnostic clinics and about half dozen ghats and access points to river Jhelum.
The Chief Minister also received presentation pertaining to development of craft clusters in Jamia Masjid, Safakadal-Qamarwari, Idgah, Noorbagh, Chattabal, Soura, Zadibal, Boatpora,-Suhama and Kanchan Peerpora.
Speaking in the meeting, Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar said that there is need to bring Habba Kadal, Chinkral Mohalla, Fateh Kadal, Khankhahi Mohalla, Bohri Kadal, Zaina Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Hawal, Zadibal and other core areas of Shahr-e-Khas in the overall roadmap being prepared for the development of Shahr-e-Khas.
The Chief Minister directed for incorporating all these areas in the main project, adding that details for operationalizing various components of the project should be discussed with Housing and Tourism Departments to dovetail efforts. He also directed for factoring in Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s schemes for artisan development.
Earlier, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal said that under the Chief Minister’s directives 4 initiatives of Installing Traffic Signals, Operationalizing Radio Taxies, Water Transport and Development of Artisan Clusters were given green signal for launching and considerable headway has been achieved on all these initiatives.
Meanwhile, Mr Omar, who is also Chairman of J&K Skills Development Mission reviewed the progress on various initiatives introduced under the Mission to upgrade skills of J&K youth and enhance their employability to get absorbed in job market.
The Chief Minister said that the concerned State Government Departments should take up the matter of roping in NHPC, Railways, National Highway Authority, State Power Development Corporation, JKPCC, J&K Bank and other similar companies to set up ITIs under their corporate social responsibilities towards the society. He said they can train youth of Jammu and Kashmir in these ITIs in the trades in which they need work force. “This would ensure placement of educated boys and girls in these companies”, he said.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance, Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for Technical Education, R. S. Chib, Minister for Industries, S. S. Slathia, Political Advisor to the Chief Minister, Devender Singh Rana, Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, Principal Secretaries, B. B. Vyas, Sudhanshu Pandey, Administrative Secretaries of various departments and senior officers.
In a PowerPoint presentation, the Planning Commissioner gave overview of the roadmap put in place for achieving the target of upgrading skills of 9.10 lakh youth during the next five years. He gave sector-wise targets fixed for this purpose and the strategy worked out by various departments to realize this target.

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