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A Hoax Adding Miseries to People

Srinagar Smart City Project, instead of being a beacon of progress, has turned into a source of daily hardship for residents.
04:00 AM Jul 04, 2024 IST | SHABIR IBN YUSUF
a hoax adding miseries to people
File Photo GK

The Srinagar Smart City Project, launched with great fanfare and lofty promises, is rapidly becoming a symbol of disappointment and despair for the residents of Srinagar. Despite the grand vision of transforming the city into a modern, sustainable urban hub, the reality on the ground paints a starkly different picture.


The project, rather than alleviating the burdens of daily life, seems to be compounding them, adding layers of miseries to an already struggling populace.


The promises of improved infrastructure, efficient public services, and enhanced quality of life have largely remained unfulfilled. Roads are dug up for months on end, leading to traffic snarls and making daily commutes a nightmare. Pedestrians are forced to navigate dangerous, uneven pathways, risking injury. The constant construction and lack of proper planning have disrupted businesses, leading to significant financial losses for shopkeepers and traders who are struggling to stay afloat.


The incessant construction work has also given rise to severe health and environmental issues. Dust and debris from the ongoing projects contribute to respiratory problems, particularly among children and the elderly.


One of the most visible signs of the Smart City project in Srinagar is the extensive digging up of roads across the city. The promise of upgrading infrastructure has instead resulted in a citywide construction site. Major roads, as well as smaller by lanes, have been dug up for laying optic fibre cables, sewage systems, and other utilities. However, these projects often face delays, leaving roads in a state of disrepair for months on end. This not only hampers daily commute but also poses significant safety risks to pedestrians and vehicles alike.


The Smart City initiative in Srinagar has been plagued with numerous missed deadlines. Whether it’s the completion of roadworks, the installation of smart lighting systems, or the operationalization of smart traffic signals, the authorities have repeatedly failed to meet their own timelines.


Public announcements of new deadlines often come with little to no follow-through, leading to growing frustration among the residents. The lack of accountability and transparency in project management has eroded public trust in the Smart City mission.


The prolonged and poorly managed construction activities have taken a heavy toll on local businesses. Market areas, which should have benefitted from enhanced infrastructure, are instead grappling with reduced foot traffic and accessibility issues.

Business owners claim significant losses due to disruptions caused by the construction work. In many cases, customers are unable or unwilling to navigate through the chaotic and hazardous conditions, leading to a sharp decline in sales. For small and medium enterprises, which form the backbone of Srinagar's economy, these losses are particularly devastating.

Srinagar’s traffic woes have only worsened with the Smart City project. The dug-up roads and incomplete construction work have resulted in frequent traffic jams, making daily commutes a frustrating ordeal. The city's already strained traffic management system is unable to cope with the added burden, leading to gridlocks and long delays. The introduction of smart traffic signals was meant to alleviate congestion, but their inconsistent implementation and malfunctioning have done little to ease the situation. As a result, the promise of smoother, more efficient urban mobility remains unfulfilled.

The lack of comprehensive planning and coordination among various departments and contractors has led to chaotic execution. Projects are often started without proper feasibility studies or impact assessments, resulting in frequent revisions and delays.

The execution of Smart City projects has been riddled with inefficiencies. Substandard work, frequent changes in contractors, and a lack of skilled labour have compounded the problems, leading to prolonged construction periods and increased costs.

Despite substantial funds being allocated for the Smart City mission, financial mismanagement and corruption have impeded effective utilization. Delays in fund disbursement and misappropriation of resources have left many projects incomplete or abandoned.

The promise of transforming Srinagar into a Smart City remains largely unfulfilled, leaving residents and businesses grappling with the adverse consequences of poor planning and execution.

The term "Smart City" has, for many, become a symbol of disruption rather than progress. However, with focused and concerted efforts to address the existing challenges, it is still possible to steer Srinagar towards a smarter, more sustainable future. Realizing the Smart City dream requires a commitment to transparency, accountability, and active participation from all stakeholders to ensure that the vision is not just a hoax but a tangible reality for the people of Srinagar.


The Srinagar Smart City Project, instead of being a beacon of progress, has turned into a source of daily hardship for its residents. It is imperative that the authorities take immediate corrective actions to address the issues plaguing the project. Transparent communication, strict adherence to project timelines, and stringent measures to curb corruption and mismanagement are essential steps towards regaining public trust.

Only through genuine efforts and accountable governance can the vision of a truly smart and liveable Srinagar be realized, lifting the city and its people from the depths of despair to the heights of progress and prosperity.

(The author senior staffer Greater Kashmir)