AMIDST CRITICISM that development was not visible on the ground even a year after the revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to announce major projects, including high-tech and environment-friendly ‘naya’ Srinagar and ‘naya’ Jammu.
According to sources, the Union Ministry of Urban Development and Jammu and Kashmir administration are jointly working on the final blueprint for the projects, with the Prime Minister personally monitoring it.
The plan for the Valley includes a project to restore the old glory of Dal Lake. “The area around Dal Lake is densely populated and its glory has diminished over the years. The threat of pollution and large-scale tourism have made it fragile and caused environment degradation. Further, there have been encroachments around the Lake. So, the plan will include reducing the heavy burden from the area around it,” a source said.
The sources said the Prime Minister was particular the new city be built with sensitivity to the culture of Srinagar, its architecture and aesthetic values. “But at the same time, it will be a sustainable high-tech city,” the source said.
After the Dredging Corporation of India had found that Dal Lake had shrunk about 40 per cent and that the quality of water has deteriorated, the Jammu and Kashmir government had last year set up a panel to declare Dal Lake as eco-sensitive zone. The panel had submitted its report in February.
Modi is expected to announce new projects for Jammu city also, the sources said.
After returning to power with a massive majority, the Modi-led government had on August 5, 2019, announced the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A which allowed the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to define permanent residents of the state. The state was bifurcated into two Union Territories – Ladakh without a legislature, and Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature.
The BJP had always claimed that the region had remained backward because of Article 370. The ruling party had also assured the changes would improve infrastructure, grass root democracy, increase job opportunities and deliver corruption-free governance.