SRINAGAR, Sept 15: Laying out the roadmap for effective implementation of Smart City Projects in the State, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam today asked the administration to focus on restoration of Dal Lake and Jhelum river as a fulcrum for development of Srinagar as a ‘Smart City’.
“Dal Lake and Jhelum river are twin lifelines of Srinagar city. Once you focus on restoration and beautification of these water bodies, your ‘Smart City’ will emerge and grow from there,” Subrahmanyam said, adding that sustainable development of Srinagar has to be based on restoration of these important water bodies.
Urging the officers to take immediate steps for adding charm to Srinagar’s landscape, the Chief Secretary regretted the absence of night life in the historic city. He asked the officials to involve the residents of the city as “important stakeholders” in Smart City Mission.
“Srinagar becomes lifeless after evening, but small, smart and low-cost interventions can radically change this. The city has an illustrious history with its arts, crafts and heritage, and we have to shape ‘Srinagar Smart City’ around these ideas,” he said, adding that the officials must explore the options of including tram system and water transport in the proposals for Srinagar ‘Smart City’.
Subrahmanyam said Jammu city has made some progress in the implementation of the projects under ‘Smart City’ mission but the city has to be made pleasing to the eyes. He asked the officers in Jammu to focus on leveraging resources for people-oriented development, while announcing that both the cities will get fulltime CEOs for Smart City Mission in a month.
The Chief Secretary was speaking at a meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre to review the progress made on works related to the development of J&K’s twin capitals – Jammu and Srinagar – as ‘Smart Cities’.
The meeting was also attended by D S Mishra, Secretary, Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Kunal Kumar, Joint Secretary (Smart Cities), K B Aggarwal, Financial Commissioner, Housing and Urban Development, Syed Abid Rashid, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Keshav Verma, World Bank Consultant, Peerzada Hafizullah Shah, Commissioner SMC and other officers of the civil administration.
Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar and Vice-Chairman, Jammu Development Authority participated in the meeting through video-conferencing.
Earlier, Secretary Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs assured the meeting that there was no dearth of funds with the GoI for speedy implementation of Smart City Mission in twin capitals of J&K. “The challenge before you are utilization and implementation but this also opens a window of opportunity to make Srinagar a great city like Geneva,” he said.
He urged the officers to focus on those projects initially which will make visible and immediate changes to the lives of people, “Srinagar had a life but can we bring it back? Smart City Mission is a public driven program and not a Government scheme which is why the involvement of locals is very important,” he said.