Left out of smart city project, Jammu, Srinagar to get funds under AMRUT

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As none of the cities from Jammu and Kashmir find mention in the smart city project launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Central government has sought five-year prospective plan for Jammu, Srinagar, Leh and Anantnag, which are likely to get funds under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) — a project to transform 500 cities and towns in India.Under the plan, the Centre will directly fund improvement in urban transport facilities, creating green spaces and parks, sewerage/drainage and creating long-term drinking water supply mechanism to deal with the future needs of the selected cities and towns.Officials from the Municipal Corporation said a meeting was recently organised to discuss the need to improve urban infrastructure in rapidly growing capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.“There was much dismay when none of the cities from J&K was included in the smart city list, but under the AMRUT four cities and towns of the state have been included. It is now up to the state government how fast it submits the five year prospective plan to the Centre to get funds at the earliest,” said an official source.The Union Cabinet had approved the AMRUT to transform selected cities into efficient urban living spaces, with special focus on a health and green environment for children.The Cabinet has approved Rs 50,000 crore for the mission, which is to be spent over the next five years.A support session with regard to the State Annual Action Plan based on the State Level Improvement Plans under the AMRUT for Jammu and Kashmir was held on November 23. The session was chaired by Commissioner Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Bipul Pathak.“If the state fails to submit the plan on time it is likely to affect the plans of the government to improve the infrastructure of twin capital cities. It is a good opportunity…,” said a senior official from the Urban Development Department, who was a part of the recent meeting.Population of Jammu is estimated to reach 19 lakh by 2021 and the city will need massive investment to provide basic amenities of life to people.Till 2000, Jammu city had had an area of just 32 sq km. However, in 2003, the government expanded the city limits to 117 sq km.

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