Many people may have been surprised that Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, could not find a place in the list of 100 potential ‘smart cities’ under the Indian government’s Smart City Mission.
The reason is that it has failed to meet the eligibility criteria. Srinagar could not even make it through Stage 1 of the selection process that included Institutional Systems and Capacities (15 points), Self-financing (30 points) and past track record (30 points).
Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner Showkat Ahmad Zargar said: “Our state had not met the eligibility criteria/ indicators including internal resources.”
He, however, clarified that it has nothing to do with choosing between Jammu and Srinagar as suggested by some media reports.
The Union Urban Ministry has asked the excluded cities to make up for the deficiencies identified and compete again.
Blaming the former Chief Secretary of the state Iqbal Khanday, some officials on condition of anonymity, told Rising Kashmir newspaper that he himself changed the points from 75 to 45, making Srinagar ineligible for the project.
Blaming the state government for the exclusion of Srinagar from the Smart City project, local residents said the government will neither change things on its own nor will let anyone else do it.