SRINAGAR, June 5: Downtown area of Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar, is dilapidated and crumbling, prompting authorities to step up efforts to save the Valley’s unique cultural heritage by setting up a heritage street.
Rampart corruption, unplanned development, lack of funds as well as two-decade old violence have taken their toll on the downtown Srinagar, experts say.
“Chief Minister gave nod to the starter of the project involving twenty-four crore rupees for constructing a two kilometer pedestrian Tourist Trail from Nawakadal to cement Kadal,” an official spokesman said.
Besides a craft bazaars, retail outlets, refreshment kiosks, production centres and other facilities the main street will be pedestrian and if found feasible battery operated vehicles can be allowed along the street.
The “heritage-street” aimed at providing necessary succour to a large population of artisans by developing craft clusters, generating economic activities, encouraging tourist flow, developing palatable lung places and upgrading basic amenities along with beautification of the historic Srinagar city.
The new concept for construction of Heritage Craft Tourist Trail from Nawakadal to Chattabal and construction of River Front Craft Plaza has been derived from the existing similar heritage sites established in Muscat, New York, China and Sabermati.
The project also involves upgradation of the street pavement, covering of drains, laying of sewer lines, underground electric cabling, development of litterbins at every 200 meters, solar street lights at every 200 meters, street furniture and signages, refreshment kiosks, public conveniences, diagnostic clinics and about half dozen ghats and access points to river Jhelum.