The 4th Board of Directors (BoD) meeting of the Srinagar Smart City Limited (SSCL) saw approval of several proposals for building smart infrastructure and facilities for the citizens, providing them hassle-free access to public services. Dheeraj Gupta, Principal Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department, chaired the meeting.
During the meeting, extensive discussions were held on all proposals and put before CEO Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary for approval. A number of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) were approved for execution whereas several others were accepted in principle and asked to be put before the board after re-evaluation and value-addition.
Some of the proposals approved or accepted for implementation include upgrading of 25 government schools as smart schools with state-of-the-art facilities, establishment of smart healthcare facilities at six identified health centres, establishment of 133 smart bus stops with multiple facilities around the city, conservation of three heritage shrines, development of a cycle track, upgrading of Maharaj Gunj historical market, setting up of smart hoardings and signages at over 100 identified locations across the city, and redevelopment of Yarkand Serai at Safakadal, development of space underneath the Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh (JCRB) flyover.
These projects come in various categories including improved urban mobility, introduction of e-governance services, revitalisation of heritage and culture tourism, renewal of urban facade, rejuvenation of artisan clusters and historic markets, and conservation of existing shrines.
The board was notified that the project proposed for development of the space underneath the JCRB flyover includes two parts: including beautification by way of setting up of parking slots at some of the bays, and illumination and greening of most bays. The board approved the beautification part of the proposal and asked the concerned to research and discuss the feasibility of setting up parking bays with the traffic department and a transport consultant and come back to the board.
A proposal for re-development of the Yarkand Serai located on the Jhelum bund at Safakadal was also approved by the meeting. It was notified that the project is being funded under convergence in association with the Tourism department with equal shares of funding. The re-development of Serai is expected to play an important role in the revitalisation of heritage and cultural tourism in Srinagar by serving as a boutique craft market for tourists and traders from outside the state. The CEO of SSCL was asked to fix the timeline for completion of the project and take it up with the tourism and culture departments and look at how it could be best utilised to revive the cultural tourism.
A proposal for upgrading the historical markets in old Srinagar city was also put for approval before the board during the meeting. The board’s point of view was that the respective markets should be taken up individually instead of all at once so that their completion can be ensured from available funding and approved upgrading of Maharaj Gunj market. The SSCL is expected to consult with experts from outside the state and submit a DPR for re-development of this historical market, adding that the required funding would be made available.
The meeting also discussed a proposal for setting up hoardings and signage at over 100 different pre-identified locations across the city. The board asked the CEO of SSCL to finalise their specifications and design and bring it back for approval. It was notified that the respective hoardings and signage, which include smart ones, will provide information about places and locations to facilitate hassle-free identification.
The proposal for conservation of three heritage places of worship including St. Luke’s Church at Drugjan, Raghunath Mandir at Fateh Kadal and Imambara at Hassan Abad, was also approved by the board. It was notified that two of the total five such structures being taken up in the first phase of the ‘conservation of existing shrines’ project have already been completed, adding that the remaining six mandated heritage shrines will be taken up in the second phase of the project.
Several other proposals were put before the board and approved, including establishment of smart healthcare at six identified health centres and development of 25 government schools as smart schools with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
The CEO of SSCL was authorised by the board to approach the Education department and request them to allow the respective schools to change their names and make required changes in their administrative functioning.
Also, a proposal for the establishment of 133 smart bus stops with various facilities around Srinagar city was presented before the board. The board made an observation that smart bus stops were the need of the hour and asked the SSCL to come up with a well-researched proposal in a month’s time for approval.
The meeting also stressed upon the need for earliest possible engagement of the Master System Integrator (MSI) for implementation of the Integrated Command and Control Centre (ICCC) and e-Governance based smart city solutions in the SSCL.
Also, several other decisions were taken during the meeting. For instance, the board empowered the CEO of SSCL to take decisions in projects involving expenditure of up to Rs. 10 crore for smooth functioning of the company.
In the meeting, Dheeraj Gupta asked SSCL to review the details of all proposals made under the Srinagar smart city project and see if they require value-addition. He said the aim of the smart city project is to increase the efficacy of public services.