List of Smart Cities Out; Srinagar Missing

SRINAGAR: The government on Thursday released a list of 98 cities, including 24 state capitals, which are to be developed as smart cities.  

In a curious omission Srinagar city is missing from the list. Even though it is reported that Jammu & Kashmir has asked for more time to decide on choosing a city, the omission of Srinagar city is a glaring one.  

“It is strange that a city that is the face of Kashmir and which desperately needs not only a facelift but perhaps a comprehensive make over needs time to make it into the list”, said Muntazir Yaseen, a young media professional.

Maximum number of to-be-developed smart cities are in UP, followed by Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. The menu of choice for J&K has been restricted to one city.

13 cities are from UP, 12 from Tamil Nadu, 10 from Maharashtra, 7 from MP, and 3 each from Bihar and Andhra Pradesh are included in smart cities list. 

The list of smart cities was unveiled by Union minister Venkaiah Naidu. Speaking on the occasion, Naidu said that the “prime motive behind the smart city project is to enhance urban life.” 

Bizarrely, given that the government is fully aware of the premises of smart cities- enhance the quality of urban life, Srinagar city is not on its radar. Unplanned and rapid urbanization coupled with demographic pressures have rendered Srinagar city into a huge and massive urban sprawl. It is becoming un-navigable and un-negotiable by the day causing problems to inhabitants, commuters, shopkeepers, traders and other assorted communities.

The reasons for delay in conveying to the centre the state’s choice appear to pertain to differences in the BJP-PDP coalition over choosing either Srinagar and Jammu.

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