Health, education, transportation, fire services being modernised in Srinagar

The government has approved and started execution on upgradation and modernization of services across important sectors of health, education, transportation and fire services in the capital district of Srinagar.

It involves using modern information and communication technologies to increase operational efficiencies and qualities of these services.

In the health sector, the Srinagar administration is upgrading five primary health centres located in different areas across the city, the aim being to modernize their functioning and improve their service deliveries.

The project under execution at 3.5 crore rupees under SADP will see all these health centres, which include UPHC Batamaloo, UPHC SR Gunj, UPHC Lal Bazar, UPHC Narwara and PHC Habakadal, being equipped with smart equipment and machines aimed at strengthening their healthcare.

In addition to different kinds of testing machines and medical equipment, all these health centres will have a smart apparatus enabling smart registration of patients for seamless utilisation of healthcare services.

Some of these machines and equipment will be made available for the first time at health centres of the district.

The government is also introducing telemedicine service in the district for which consultations with concerned agencies are underway.

Under this service, all hospitals and health institutions in the district will be connected to each other through a trusted and round-the-clock satellite-based networking channel and enable remote clinical services like diagnosis and monitoring of patients.

The service will make it possible for patients not to have to undertake out-of-station and long-distance travels for availing of specialised health services of certain kinds as it puts in place a mechanism where these are made available through electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It also reduces the need for patient referrals in cases where it is not needed.

The project includes upgrading of existing facilities at SKIMS and GMC Srinagar where it is available and setting up of these facilities at all other hospitals and health centres in the district and then connecting all of them together.

In the education sector, the district administration has completed an important pilot project and modernised 25 public schools in the district, equipping them with modern facilities, the aim being to convert them into vibrant and competitive institutions of learning.

The 5-crore-rupees project was taken up in mid-2019 and was completed in mission mode within around six months. It involved extensive planning and a comprehensive modernisation plan based on real models as existing in public schools outside the State.

The larger aim of the project is to rebuild the public education system improving learning outcomes thereof starting with these pilot schools and then replicating the model across the district.

To improve the public transport apparatus and the overall traffic situation in the district, the Srinagar administration is working on a range of measures including enhancing the volume of public transportation and regulating its operations.

As part of a slew of measures being taken to redress and enhance public transportation in the district, some 250 old buses are being replaced with new buses in addition to a total of 120 electric busses being procured for operations on different routes across the district.

Execution on the project has started and will be completed in a phased manner within a fixed timeline.

As part of the project, some 130 bus stands are being identified and will be set up at different locations across the city in order to have a regulated and streamlined apparatus of public transportation in place.

Also, sumos operating in the district are being replaced with mini-buses, which will have a reliable and convenient operating module. Besides, old auto rickshaws are being replaced with e-rickshaws.

In addition to these measures, a comprehensive traffic plan is being formulated aimed at streamlining the overall traffic situation in the district.

This process aimed at improving public transportation and streamlining traffic situation in the district has started and is being reviewed every three months to ensure adherence to the timeline.

Being a key emergency services sector, the fire service apparatus in Srinagar is set to see major upgradation with all fire stations across the city being strengthened through a host of means and measures.

The project includes among a host of interventions strengthening of all 23 fire stations and their integration, and development of over 100 fire hydrants at different locations, the aim being to strengthen the fire and emergency response apparatus across the Srinagar city.

It also includes enhancing capabilities of each fire station through equipment with requisite fire-fighting apparatus including fire tenders of different capacities and sizes.

Small-size fire tenders, which are being introduced here for the first time, and large fire tenders with 7500-litre capacities are also being procured as part of the project for enhancing relevant capabilities of the fire service department.

Other major components of the project are the development of a smart control room and setting up of a trusted wireless apparatus at 80 different locations.

Strengthening of fire service response mechanism for areas in and around the Dal Lake also makes part of the project. It includes setting up of two proper fire stations and six boats with fire-fighting capabilities.

The project, which also includes setting up a well-equipped training centre at the fire service headquarters in the city, is in tandem with the unique requirements of the city and in tune with modern requirements of fire-fighting. It is targeted for completion within four months.

The Srinagar administration is also engaged in efforts to find permanent solutions to the issue street vending in the city.

It has formulated a comprehensive plan which involves relocation and re-arrangement of street vendors based on a comprehensive management plan to regulate their manner of the operation aimed at reducing the ill-effects of indiscriminate occupation of public spaces and to improve the conditions of street vendors.

It includes smart solutions to the problem of unregulated vending bringing the registered street vendors under the ambit of an organised sector involved in business giving them space and opportunities where their trade and conditions can flourish.

This involves validation of their operation through smart registration — after proper verification based on the data collected anew about genuine vendors involved in street vending business — and promotion of their markets and trades through different means and measures.

All these important projects are being executed in collaboration with the Srinagar Smart City Limited or SSCL, with a major chunk of the funding being provided through the SSCL.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary who is also the Chief Executive Officer SSCL said that all these important sectors are being given special attention in the district, adding that their upgradation is the need of the hour.

He said the administration and the SSCL has engaged stakeholders and involved experts for a well-thought-out and workable plan which has a clear understanding of issues involved, the aim being to find smart and sustainable solutions surrounding these service areas.

Dr Shahid said all these works are under fast-paced execution for their earliest possible completion, adding that adherence to timelines is an important part of all these projects.