Under the Srinagar Smart City Project, the authorities have pledged and are aiming to improve the city’s infrastructure and services, but at what cost? The destruction of the existing areas, which over time will result in significant relocation, will harm the city’s beauty, which is not only historically significant but also integral to its culture and tradition. Not only that, but the concretization will also increase air pollution and traffic congestion, creating additional problems that could become unmanageable and uncontrollable.
The point being made here is not that the Smart City Project should not be implemented, but rather that the authorities must make sure that the project makes people’s lives easier while still maintaining the charm and individuality of the city. The authorities might try to ensure that Srinagar City has an effective and dependable transportation system, a strong and dependable telecommunications network, an effective system for disposing of waste, an effective system for distributing electricity, and an effective system for managing water. Authorities should not stop there; instead, they should seek to establish a transparent, responsible, and responsive structure of governance for the city.
Leaving behind concretization, the project’s authorities may focus on creating a system for Smart Education, Smart Healthcare, and Smart Economy—one that is dynamic and alive while also being inclusive, sustainable, and fair. However, it is unclear why people in high chairs are obsessed with ‘concretization’ and prefer it over real ‘smartness’. A mountain of concrete shouldn’t be built inside and outside the city; instead, the city needs to become smart in the truest sense. It should be mentioned that there are alternative methods to make the city smarter without abandoning Srinagar’s natural beauty and character and that concretization is not the only solution to the city’s development.
The government should prioritise enhancing the current infrastructure, delivering improved public services, and supporting environmentally friendly programmes like sustainable development and energy efficiency. A holistic approach to development is required to guarantee that the requirements of the population are taken into account. Otherwise, we might be faced with a monster made of concrete that is ready to devour the city and transform it, forever!
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