NC treating Srinagar as bonded territory: Mufti

Srinagar, November 11 (Scoop News)-  Urging the residents of Srinagar to wake up to the infrastructure disaster in the capital city Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said the ruling National Conference had been treating it as a bonded territory only as a ladder to luxuries of power. Addressing a workers meeting at Balhama in the Sonwar constituency here he said no transformation of the historic city was possible till the NC enjoyed a free run in elections in Srinagar facilitated by poll boycott. On this occasion District president and MLC Mohd Ashraf Mir, Secretary coordination Ab Hameed Kosheen, Aadil Jan, vice district president Mohd Maqbool Beig, Zone president Mohd Shafi Mir and others were also present and spoke to the gathering.

Citing the data available in public domain Mufti said the share of Srinagar District had got reduced from 5.83% in 2006-07 to 3.29% in 2012-13 within the District Plan of the State. Srinagar is crumbling as, he said as the infrastructure development was not at all keeping pace with the pressures of increasing urbanisation and tourist inflow. 95% of Srinagar dwellings are unplanned leading to choking and other social problems with the government busy only in compromises for its survival, he said adding that the city was turning into a virtual slum. He said only last year the government had diverted funds amounting to Rs 48 crore under Central Road Fund (CRF) and none of the legislators had even raised the issue, not to speak of the chief minister who actually ordered it as minister incharge of R&B.

Mufti said though the ten legislators from Srinagar and Ganderbal districts were crucial to NC’s survival in power, the party had taken the residents there for granted, considering that there would always be boycott in elections and they could run away with results in their favour. He said it was for the people to ponder over this situation and decide whether this situation should be allowed to perpetuate at the cost of their interests. He said the legislators and MP from Srinagar were paying only lip service to the city without any contribution to its growth on modern lines.

Mufti said instead of trying to build on the initiatives taken by the previous coalition to develop modern amenities in Srinagar the present government had either delayed their execution or shelved them altogether. Referring to the four laning of Srinagar Jammu Highway Mufti said even though it had been got approved by the then prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee it had failed to take off beyond Pantchhokh for lack of follow up by the state government. He said not a single kilometre had been completed in the four years of present dispensation and Srinagar city was choked at the main entry points of Pantchhokh and Parimpora. Even the Srinagar Narbal widening project was running in its seventh year without its completion in sight, with the result that travel on these routes had become almost like a punishment.

Mufti said the new spaces created by the previous government as part of the beautification of river Jehlum had added to the beauty of the city but the NC led government failed in carrying it forward. Instead of extending the beautification program as originally envisaged it was now trying to undo it by implementing silly projects like the skewed bridge. He said it would destroy the only pedestrian mall left in the city which had over the centuries acquired an iconic aura among tourists and travellers as The Bund Srinagar was considered as one on the most attractive addresses east of Suez. He regretted that the government had overruled all sane opinion from experts and civil society in going ahead with the senseless project. He said the prestigious Dal project sanctioned during the previous government had made little progress and there were allegations of targeting the poor and underprivileged people while the rich and powerful enjoying political patronage got away with brazen violations.

Terming the claims of government about development of Srinagar as false and misleading, Mufti said the city was still at a stage of growth where patch work on roads or fixing of a lighting post was projected as an achievement and a favour. He said through the plans like the Asian Development Bank assistance and other multilateral and central funding the PDP led government had planned to take the city to next level of development which included a rapid transport system, proper sewerage disposal and a dependable power distribution system but that too had suffered a reversal. “Projects are now used only to provide jobs to favourites through back door while out of the seven proposed flyovers not a single had been taken in hand even though this government is now on its last leg” Mufti said. He said many sewerage projects had become a source of discomfort as roads in those areas remained ripped open for years with work execution going on at snail’s pace.

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