By Y. Sabir
JEDDAH: To improve the lives of people in Srinagar the government has completed various infrastructure projects since 2013.
A prime example is the flyover from Jehangir Chowk to Rambagh. Work on the $40 million project began in 2013. The work involved the construction of a four-lane road with an aggregate length of 4 km, including access roads. Benefitting an estimated population of 400,000, apart from a floating population from other districts, the project was opened in August 2019.
According to an ANI report, the government also improved Srinagar’s road network by completing five long-planned bridges in the city. The cost of the project was approximately $8 million.
The strengthening of the banks on the Jhelum riverfront at a total cost of $48 million, which began in 2015, has been instrumental in reducing flooding. The government completed a project costing $10 million to ease flooding in various areas of Srinagar. The project was instrumental in providing relief to at least 21,000 households, including in commercial areas of Lal Chowk and Indra Nagar.
At the same time, to develop the city’s sports infrastructure seven projects were undertaken at an estimated cost of $1.3 million. The infrastructure was instrumental in the engagement of youth in sports activities.
To augment the higher education infrastructure, the government undertook 19 projects at a cost of $10 million in colleges in Srinagar. Most of the projects have been completed. The aim was to increase the intake of the colleges, with special reference to professional courses.
Twenty-five schools were developed as model schools in Srinagar district to compete with private schools in the primary sector and improve achievement in state schools. The project was completed in 2019-20. The concept behind it was to enhance the learning outcomes, increase enrolment, and decrease dropout rates.
The government has given priority to establishing quarantine centers to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The existing 2,600-bed capacity has been augmented at various locations such as the Indoor Stadium, Hyderpora Warehouse, Sanat Nagar Marriage Hall, IMPA Hostel, Hajj House and in eight hostels belonging to the Government Degree College. This aims at decreasing the admission of asymptomatic patients to government-run hospitals.
To augment the health infrastructure, major interventions such as increasing the bed capacity in various hospitals in Srinagar are among projects worth 2.8 billion rupees which are presently in progress.
To address the needs of students from far away who come to Srinagar to study, it was noted that libraries were needed in the hostels of degree colleges in Srinagar so that the students in hostels have 24/7 access to books. Eight college hostels were provided with PCs on which the National Book Library software was uploaded.
To strengthen the power infrastructure in Srinagar city, the following projects were begun: A gas turbine at Tengpora, Harwan, Khanyar, a 132 KV transmission line, the augmentation of a 100 MVA Grid Station at Khanmoh and Cheshmashahi and augmentation/providing of substation costing almost $24 million. The projects will cover not only Srinagar city but will also provide power supply to adjoining districts.
Projects amounting to almost $20 million have been completed to increase the availability of drinking water and to strengthen Srinagar’s water distribution system.
(The author is the acting consul general at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah.)