Restoration of Srinagar’s Glory My Aim: Mufti

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Srinagar  – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said Srinagar must get its share of development commensurate with its historical importance, economic significance and tourism potential. The top brass of the party today reiterated their commitment to carry forward the implementation of its vision for a holistic development of the summer capital at a party workers convention in Batmalu constituency.

Mufti said Srinagar was central to the development roadmap of the party for Kashmir. “During the brief tenure from 2002 we initiated a holistic development of Srinagar city which unfortunately was subverted by our successors out of sheer political vengeance and small mindedness” he said. He said Srinagar is the political, social and cultural nerve center of Kashmir and its infrastructure has to cater to the needs of entire valley and an ever increasing floating population including the tourists. “But unfortunately the city fell on bad times as a result of instability and lack of development vision among those who ruled the state for more than three decades, he regretted.

Referring to the major economic and development initiatives introduced by the previous government Mufti said for the first time external funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) was secured for the core infrastructure like roads, drainage and drinking water. While places like Srinagar were the supposed to be major beneficiaries of this program for which a special organization Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) in view of the damage it had suffered during the strife, its objectives could not be achieved fully as a result of inefficiency and corruption that marks the present dispensation. He said still a large number of residents could get access to clean drinking water, drainage and better roads but the present government failed to fully harness this program that envisaged a rapid transport system for the city. Not even a single fly over has been taken in hand in four years and government is only making hollow announcements. He said in view of the touristic importance of Srinagar the development should have been taken to a higher level by now but we are still fighting for very basic amenities. “We should by now have qualified for World Bank investment in infrastructure development but instead even the ADB seems to have developed cold feet in view of inefficiency in the government” he said. Mufti said it was a matter of shame that the city faced a virtual siege at its two major entry points, Parimpora and Pantchhokh and as a result all high profile visitors to Kashmir are to be ferried in helicopters to places like Gulmarg and Pahalgam. “With chaos on the roads reaching such levels travel for ordinary commuters has become a nightmare and funds for development are either lapsed or diverted” he said.

Mufti said his government had during its brief tenure started major projects for Srinagar that if continued would have made this city one of the best in the country to live in. “Our people deserve the best and funds are no constraint but it needs a government that has a political direction, vision and a commitment to people which are absent in the present dispensation” he said.

Mufti said he has a strong belief in the abilities of the people of Srinagar who have given Kashmir a distinct identity through their art, craft and immense contribution in the fields of literature, poetry and fine arts. He said the our youth are an asset that can be molded into the best human resource and PDP has a definite plan to make it happen.   “My vision for Srinagar is to restore its glory and the pre eminence of its people who have to play the most crucial role in the transformation of the state into a social and economic model” he said.

Addressing the convention Muzaffar Hussein Baig said the state as a whole and Srinagar in particular had suffered as a result of the devious policies of National Conference. He said the ruling party perceived the PDP as a threat to its decades long domination and instead of improving its performance to stay afloat as a party it had developed a paranoia and spent most of its energies in demonizing the opposition party.

Recounting the initiatives taken by the PDP led coalition in Srinagar Tariq Hameed Qarra  said their completion would have transformed the city. He said major achievements of PDP led coalition included the securing of over Rs 300 crore project for Dal conservation, beautification of Jhelum river front, widening of bye pass, up gradation of north south corridor (nammath), Dr Ali Jan Road, construction of fly over, beautification of Eidgah. For development of handicrafts and tourism, the mainstay of Srinagar economy the party ensures special relief package for stakeholders, reconstruction of exhibition (numaish), establishment of Institute of carpet technology (IICT) and Design Dev Center at Bagh e Ali Mardan Khan, reconstruction of Nigeen Club, construction of Zabarwan park and Badamwari, new TRC at Railway station and a number of other facilities. He said the restoration of Ali Masjid is considered a trend setting effort in the state.

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