The much awaited Smart City project still remains on paper. Describing Smart Cities as the ideal solution to the woes of rising population and lack of housing, late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had highlighted the need to integrate core elements of city services to give our urban spaces a coordinated look. Union Government has reportedly allotted Jammu and Srinagar cities under the project. The decision though may not boost much of development but no doubt would widen the regional divide and give more headache to the government of the day. In return Jammu and Kashmir had sought construction of four smart cities in the State including Jammu, Srinagar, Katra and Anantnag to give an equal share from the development cake. Two proposed smart cities-Katra and Anantnag didn’t fulfill the criteria laid down by the Centre. After PDP-BJP Government took over reigns of affairs in the State, it upheld the proposal sent to the Centre on Smart Cities. While Jammu and Srinagar have 10 lakh population, mandatory for the smart cities, Katra and Anantnag didn’t fulfill this criteria and the State Government had sought relaxation (in the criteria) on the ground that both served as pilgrim towns and Base Camps for Mata Vaishno Devi and Shri Amarnath Shrines. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the implementation guidelines for the 100 smart cities and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) last year. The selected city would get a Rs 100 crore a year central assistance for five years for developing urban infrastructure under the smart city project. It is here the two cities of Jammu and Srinagar, which per se are the capital cities of the government during winter and summer but lack the needed infrastructure for modernisation and developing them would be a uphill task for the government. Today with Governor rule in the State can we see some development on the subject as now there is no coalition Dharma to be kept intact by Union Government and neither the State administration. What to talk of the Smart City many of the high
profile projects are languishing in uncertainty for a long.
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