Endless & Empty: Kashmir’s ‘Smart City’ Project Leaves Businesses in the Dark

Endless & Empty: Kashmir's 'Smart City' Project Leaves Businesses in the Dark

Stalling Progress? Kashmir Markets Buried Under Construction Debris

Srinagar: In a landscape dotted with ongoing construction, Kashmir’s business community is raising alarm over the snail’s pace of developmental works, particularly the Smart City projects in Srinagar. The slow progress has sparked widespread frustration, with local businesses bearing the brunt of the prolonged disruption.

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Javed Tenga voiced the community’s concerns: “It is concerning that the pace of work on developmental projects is not up to the mark, as a result of which the business community is suffering badly. Some markets are dug up due to works, resulting in no customers visiting them.”

Tenga further emphasised the broader impact on daily life: “Everybody wants development, but it should not take people hostage. Look at the traffic congestion in the city. The majority of the roads are witnessing works, either footpaths are being constructed or pipes laid. The result is there is hardly any place to walk on, and businesses are losing money.”

Echoing these sentiments, President, Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA), Aijaz Shahdhar highlighted a discrepancy between official statements and ground realities: “Despite repeatedly raising the issue of work pace on Smart City projects across Srinagar, the problems acknowledged by officials do not align with the actual progress visible on the ground.”

Shahdhar also pointed out a pattern of missed deadlines: “Several deadlines have passed for various development projects in Kashmir, yet what we hear is another deadline. It is high time that the administration should start work on these projects on double shifts to complete them within the stipulated time.”

The economic toll on local businesses has been severe, according to Shahdhar: “Businesses in Srinagar are suffering a lot. The disruption extends beyond the commercial sector, with residents facing a lot of inconvenience due to the pending works on roads, footpaths, etc.”

A local shopkeeper in Nowpora, speaking on condition of anonymity, shared his experience: “My sales have dropped by 50% since the construction began. Customers can’t reach my shop easily, and the constant noise and dust drive people away. We’re barely surviving.”

Another businessman from Karan Nagar added: “We understand the need for development, but at what cost? Our livelihoods are at stake. The authorities need to find a balance between progress and preserving existing businesses.”

Business community has called for Lieutenant Governor Sinha’s intervention to address the situation. As Kashmir’s business community awaits a response, the fate of many local enterprises hangs in the balance, caught between the promise of progress and the reality of prolonged disruption.

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