The PDP-BJP government has decided to revise comprehensively the existing Srinagar Master Plan in view of the “glaring discrepancies” in the draft land use plan.According to sources, in his regard ,the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syeed convened a high level meeting with the top officials of the Housing and urban local bodies, SDA, LAWDA, Srinagar Municipality and officials of the Chief town planer. “During the meeting, several discrepancies and deficiencies were pinpointed by the officials in the existing land use plan. The Chief Minister constituted a high level committee and instructed the members of the committee to complete the draft of revised Master Plan within the month of December and submit the same to the government for approval.Sources said that Mufti also emphasized the revised master plan (2012-2032) to be implemented from March 2016.
Sources told KNS that the CM further directed the authorities to put the draft in the public domain for 45 days. “Chief Minister said that, redoing of the Master Plan (2012-2032) has become imperative in the aftermath of the September floods,” sources said.Sources said that the meeting took a serious view of the fact that there were several violations in the land use plan involving the illegal constructions.Sources said that the participants of the meeting informed that rampant construction is fast turning residential areas in Srinagar into commercial hubs. “There has been widespread construction of unplanned colonies in many parts of the summer capital in violation of the Srinagar Master Plan,” the officials informed the meeting.It is to mention here that in 2011, the then Housing ministry, which was led by a minister from the Congress in previous NC-Congress government, handed over the work of midterm revamp of the Master Plan to a Hyderabad-based firm SAI Consultants.
The work was allotted through Srinagar Development Authority (SDA)."Agreement was signed with the consulting firm in February 2012 and the Master Plan review began in March 2012.However, there was a twist in the story in 2014 when it came to the fore that the firm which was allotted the contract had been actually blacklisted by the Central government for three years,” sources said Sources said SAI Consultants was found to have been blacklisted since 2011 by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, New Delhi, for poor supervision and poor project management. Sources said that since then the government remained silent on the revision of the Srinagar Master plan.Sources also said that much political and bureaucratic interference have always hurdled the revamp of the master plan.It is also pertinent to mention here that according to the government report, around 2200 structures in Srinagar have come up in violation of master plan guidelines. “Out of these 2200 illegal structures, the report says that 1100 have come up without any permission and in gross violation of related law,” the report has said.
“The report prepared by the high level committee comprising of additional commissioner Kashmir, vice chairman Srinagar Development Authority (SDA), commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), DC Srinagar, Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings and Special Secretary Housing and Urban Development was submitted to the previous government but no action was taken,” sources said.Official sources said that there is also boom in construction of malls and other commercial buildings in Srinagar and people have been seen constructing commercial structures in flood-hit areas like Raj Bagh, Gogji Bagh, Kursu, Wazirbagh and Karan Nagar, Bypass, Bemina and other areas in violation of the norms.However the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in March 2015 had started a demolition drive against offenders constructing buildings beyond the permissible limits. However, the trend has continued unabated. Sources said that scores of houses that fall on the main road have been converted into shops and commercial building.Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nirmal Singh told KNS that it is true that the existing Master Plan was under review and once the revised plan was approved, further action would be taken against the violators. (KNS)