Naeem Akhtar for eco-restoration of roads in mission mode

Time & Us
Last Updated: September 23, 2017 at 1:10 am

Peach blossom, willow avenues, aesthetic footpaths, landscaping to be undertaken in a big way

SRINAGAR: Expressing alarm over the decreasing green cover in Srinagar city, Minister for Public Works Naeem Akhtar today said the government is taking up eco-restoration roads in the capital city in a mission mode with plantation and development of green spaces.

The Minister was speaking at a meeting to review the implementation of eco-restoration plan for roads. The meeting was attended by CEO Srinagar Smart City project, DR Farooq Ahmad Lone, Chief Engineer R&B, Abdul Hamid, Commissioner SMC, DR Shafkat Khan MD JKPCC, Dileep Thussu, Director ERA, Satish Razdan, INTACH state convener Saleem Beigh and other officials.

The Minister said over the years, the green cover has reduced considerably in the city and the trend needs to be reversed by developing road sides. He directed the officials to take help of experts and start eco-restoration plan at the earliest. Calling for taking inspiration from world’s beautiful capital cities, the Minister said that one should treat city as a living space and it needs parks, flowers, trees, aesthetically designed places to prosper.

“Cities like Tokyo and Washington DC are known for their cherry blossom, Amsterdam for river front, Paris for heritage buildings and so on. Fortunately we have everything but only development and maintenance is needed,” said Akhtar. “Now we have directions and funds under Smart City plan too to beautify the city roads.”

The meeting was informed that experts of R&B, horticulture, floriculture and other departments will shortlist plants that will be planted on roadside, parks and river front to turn Srinagar into a green city. It was decided in the meeting that sections of every major highway and road will be planted with trees like peach, plum, apricot, willow etc.

The Minister also directed the officials to keep a provision of a certain percentage of funds in every road project for beautification and aesthetically designing the road.

Taking strong note of lack of maintenance of plant material and footpath on the roads, the Minister said that water tight mechanism like outsourcing of maintenance to private players will be explored to ensure every plant that is planted lives to bloom.

The Minister also took note of the development of area under the under construction Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh flyover. The Minister directed the officials to utilize the space available in a scientific manner, develop the adjoining heritage buildings, erect board giving history of the areas lie Haft Chinar (Seven Chinars). He also called for taking steps for facade planning of the entire stretch adjacent to the flyover.

The Minister also said that Poloview market will be turned into pedestrian and special focus will be put to maintenance of Chinar trees. The Minister was informed that 80 percent of around 10000 Chinars planted during the year have survived and more will be planted along highways and wherever feasible.