Kashmir: The times they are a-changin’; new township rolls out  

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, December 14: In a first sign of a definitive change that is taking place in the Kashmir valley, which may mirror a full-scale drive to change the narrative, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Wednesday laid the foundation stone of Srinagar Development Authority’s satellite township at Rakh Gund Aksha and also a housing colony at Bemina, Srinagar.

The move is first of a kind in the Kashmir valley when a new township is being founded. For several years, the Kashmiri Pandits, who spurned most of the offers to return to the valley, had sought creation of a new township for them, which never found favours with the government. The new township for which Sinha laid the foundation is, however, for everyone, and the principal aim is to decongest Srinagar.

Sinha lauded the SDA officials for developing first of its kind satellite township in Kashmir division. “The new initiative is aimed to decongest the city and to meet the needs of affordable homes for growing population.

The housing colony ‘Shehjar Heights’ is a symbol of aspiration of the middle class. The two projects will not only provide quality and valuable space for families but also become the driver of economic development and unlock the potential of local economies,” said Sinha.

The township shall be self-contained with building infrastructure for businesses, offices, commercial, besides institutional buildings, hotels and other facilities designed to make living and working comfortable, added the Lt Governor.

“It is pertinent to mention that a Medicity and a new High Court Complex are coming up adjacent to the township that will make the whole area another bustling centre of activity in the vicinity of Srinagar. The township will also have clusters of planned housing with neighbourhood level health and education facilities,” said the J&K administration in an official statement.

‘Shehjar Heights’ Housing Colony at Bemina will have peripheral road network with pavements, club house with swimming pool and gymnasium, community hall, shopping mall. “Cities and towns of J&K are experiencing a transformational urbanism that has been achieved through excellence in infrastructure planning and execution and stimulated local development.

The ongoing transformation in Srinagar, Jammu and their neighbouring towns is the harbinger of sustainable development,” said Sinha, who added that satellite townships and housing colonies will accelerate economic activities in J&K.

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