Raghunath Bazar Development Project

It was decided many years back to accord a special heritage look to the oldest Bazar of Jammu city adjoining much famed Shree Raghunath Mandir. Much hype and build-up was created by politicians and bureaucrats alike promising to toil to turn the area into a heritage singleton and an attractive entity to motivate tourists visiting Jammu to throng the area, pay obeisance at the famous Raghunath Temple temple and also go shopping. It is, however, a cause of concern that no funds have been allotted and earmarked so far in respect of Phase2 of the project, thus rendering the associated works of the main project go topsy -turvy. The element of religious tourism associated with this project is conspicuous of its importance which is feared to go in the state of unawareness due to non seriousness on the part of the Government to arrange accord practical shape to the project.
Phase 2 , to be precise, as per the Detailed Project Report, includes City Chowkand ShahadiChowk areasabout which exhaustive deliberations have taken place at various levels in the Government. The need was simultaneously felt for incorporating some additional components in the project with historic Raghunath Temple as the centre- stage. The question is as to why was this phase 2 of the project conceived at all and whether the development project was compartmentalized into phases to be executed. Initially, development of Raghunath Bazar as heritage area was flagged of as priority by the successive State Governments realising its unique importance and the sense of attachment of the people with it and some works in the shape of installation of ornamental poles and covering footpaths with red stones and the like was carried out through the Tourism Department a few years back. All these works, later, were found to be just like ordinary cosmetic touches only depicting nothing of the sort to give a sense of heritage status to the Bazar in the real sense of the term and accordingly thrust was laid on preparation of Detailed Project Report for Phase 2.
The Detailed Project Report for Phase 2 has already been submitted to the senior authorities after the then Governor NN Vohra was given a detailed presentation about this development project whereupon instructions had been issued to the Tourism Department for its early submission.The DRP travelled up to the Planning Department and Monitoring Department and would have been given a start by now had the matching funds been allocated. That has resulted into an air of suspense about whether as on date, it stands shelved, deferred or just kept in the ice box. However, the status as on date as it is, leads to arrive at a conclusion that the project has remained confined to files only.
It was long desired to transform the area into a vehicle free zone and introduction of battery operated cars for those visitors who are otherwise physically not able to walkthe distance .That would have bestowed upon the area a pollution free and noise free status. Besides this, a uniform colour and general face lifting to the market in the entire belt would add towards the look of a heritage area. The DPR (2) also included providing of water ATMs at reasonable distance and landscaping and reconstruction of the City Chowk and ShahidiChowk by installation of clock tower and remodelling of fountain etc .Underground cabling of electricity and telephone wires, installation of arcades etc have been included in the project but the fact is that Phase 1 proved a damp squib while Phase 2 is yet to take off because “money makes mare go “. We, therefore, urge the authorities to address this problem on priority basis and provide financial support to the project so that execution process thereof begins at the earliest.


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