SRINAGAR: With twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu undergoing transformation under the ambitious centrally sponsored Smart City Project, the expectations of the residents are soaring high in respect of facilities and the civic amenities.The work on the Srinagar Smart City Project launched in 2017 is gradually picking up the pace .According to the Project Head Athar Amir, work on dozens of schemes is underway and several prestigious projects are at the completion stage and would be inaugurated very soon.However, on ground zero, the projects are nowhere visible and Srinagar City looks no different than before. There is the same traffic mess, broken and busy footpaths, worst drainage system and lack of proper dust-bins. There are garbage sites everywhere on the roadside in the main city, especially in up and downtown areas. The main garbage dumping site is situated in the middle of the city at Achan Eidgaah Said-Pora. The stench emanating from there is highly disturbing for the people living nearby and passing through the area.The loopholes of the project got hugely exposed in the rainy season.During last winter, one of the worst seasons during the past thirty years, heaps of snow left the entire city paralyzed. The snow was not cleared by authorities for several days especially in lanes, link and the interior roads, due to which, not only district headquarters but the inter-city link roads remained blocked for many days. During these days, under sub zero temperature, hundreds of cars and other vehicles collided on roads.Several residents of Srinagar City told STATE TIMES, “Till date there is nothing smart about Srinagar. We are waiting for smart projects that had been announced by the authorities several years ago.”Locals also said that they have seen only Jahangir Chowk- Rambagh flyover, which was the proposal of Omar Abdullah Government. He laid the foundation stone of flyover as Chief Minister in 2013. Except for this nothing much has changed so far.According to a bus driver, since the early 90s, the traffic jamming has been one of the main issues of the city.“When the government announced in 2017 that Srinagar city is being developed under Smart City Mission, we thought something would change, particularly parking area for passenger buses ,but there is nothing on the ground. Parking facility is yet to be provided for passenger buses in the main city ,Lal Chowk etc. Besides, road side parking is another big issue and the authorities are not in a position to even show any kind of interest to resolve this malady”, he added.The downtown area, now called Shahr- e- Khaas or Old and Historic City of Srinagar, is still waiting for potable water supply. The locals rue that even though the city has many water bodies around, yet the tapped service is still a dream.On electric supply, the residents said that there were reports regarding laying of underground wires, but on the contrary, the electric poles and transmission lines are still there and in very bad condition in many areas of.SMC Commissioner and Smart City Project Head Athar Aamir told STATE TIMES that once the projects get completed, the Capital will present a different look.But when, he had no clue.Recently, officials said that around two dozen projects are going-on under the Rs 140-crore smart city project. Though many have been completed, but many are underway. They said that the Smart Data Centre and the Integrated Command and Control Centre is going on in full swing and is expected to be completed soon.Development of water filtration plants for entire Srinagar city and establishment of a helpdesk for water-related issues would be started soon while the e-billing facility has been started.Officials claimed that the identified Government schools and Anganwadi Centers would also be modernised under the Smart City Project.
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