Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Growing City With Questionable Future

Srinagar is bustling city that cries out for development to keep pace with its phenomenal growth

City Expansion

Abdul Hamid Mir (Rising Kashmir)

Srinagar City is not only the heart, but coronary artery of Kashmir. The city is famous since times immemorial and was quite famous during the Mughal rule. Ranging from slum dwellers to business giants, from a cart puller to a political, the city has been welcoming everyone with a smiling face for centuries. Now due to population stress, the city seems to be inflated, so a well planned expansion is sought. Horizontal expansion (well planned) is inevitable given the unchecked migration of rural population into the city outskirts and given the limited space available for a growing population.

A comprehensive Srinagar Master plan should be aimed at augmenting the standard of physical infrastructure in the summer capital without perturbing the historical significance of Srinagar. During peak years of turmoil, Jammu witnessed surplus developments, now it is time to focus on Srinagar. The historical city needs an overhaul while maintaining its glory.

Lal Chowk, the city main centre always remains flooded with people and transport vehicles. A mechanism should be put in place so that the crowded place do no longer becomes impermeable during peak hours. For God’s sake, the footpaths should be cleared for pedestrians. Old city roads are narrower than streets, they need to be widened. Delay in implementing the rehabilitation plan of houseboat dwellers is slowly making the world famous Dal Lake succumb to extreme pollution.

 Green Belt should have been ‘Red’ Zone for further constructions even for the elite class, irrespective of the status. A flyover at Shalteng (HMT) crossing should have been a decade old. Roads, commercial buildings, and tourist spots etc require a face-lifting. Dog fear and Traffic Jams are equally worrying the city dwellers which need attention of authorities. Illegal encroachments should be completely dismantled with suitable compensation wherever required. Likewise Metro cities, construction of residential colonies should be done in a planned manner.

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