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Posted at: Oct 14, 2015, 1:05 AM; last updated: Oct 13, 2015, 11:23 PM (IST)

Residential areas in Srinagar turning into commercial hubs

Rifat Mohidin

Srinagar, October 13

Rampant construction in the aftermath of floods is fast turning residential areas in Srinagar into commercial hubs even as officials of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation maintained that action would be taken against the violators once the revised Master Plan was approved by the Cabinet.

There has been widespread construction of unplanned colonies in many parts of the summer capital in violation of the Srinagar Master Plan.

Residents alleged rampant construction of shopping malls and other commercial buildings in the flood-hit localities of the city. They said the Srinagar Master Plan was being violated right under the nose of the state government.

The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in March had started a demolition drive against offenders constructing buildings beyond the permissible limits. However, the trend has continued unabated.

Most of the commercial buildings are being constructed in the Jawahar Nagar area of the city, one of the worst-hit localities during last year floods.

“All the houses that fall on the main road have been converted into shops and commercial buildings…unfortunately, the government is not doing anything,” said one of the Jawahar Nagar residents.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Housing and Urban Development Nirmal Singh said the government has laid comprehensive policy on the development of housing colonies.

“The areas of Raj Bagh, Jawahar Nagar and Karan Nagar are being converted into commercial hubs. In 2013, the SMC had identified and sealed many structures in these areas. However, the then government enacted a law which provided moratorium on defaulters till March 2016,” Singh said.

The minister said the existing Master Plan was under review and once the revised plan was approved by the Cabinet, further action would be taken against the violators.

There is a boom in construction of malls and other commercial buildings in Srinagar and people have been seen constructing commercial structures in flood-hit areas like Raj Bagh, Gogji Bagh, Kursu, Wazirbagh and Karan Nagar in violation of the norms.

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