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e-MARG for maintenance of PMGSY roads in J&K launched 

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BK News

Srinagar, Sept 29: Principal Secretary, R&B Department, Shailendra Kumar, Tuesday launched e-MARG online payment to contractors for maintenance of PMGSY Roads here at the Civil Secretariat.

Principal Secretary said that e-MARG is an e-Governance solution to monitor the maintenance of roads and assist the JKRRDA (Jammu & Kashmir Rural Road Development Authority) officials, Contractors and Banks.

He said the department and other stakeholders are currently using e-MARG for monitoring of roads as an effective tool for asset and financial management. “This digital service is unique in its own way as it is a convergence of e-governance using GIS, mobile messaging services and secure encryption,” he added.

During the launch of e-MARG online payment system, some other important features of the service, including web-based centrally managed application which facilitates online bill generation and payment, online submission and tracking of bills by contractors, statutory deductions of Income Tax, Labour cess etc, were also highlighted.

Besides, online submission of Inspection Reports by field Officers, performance-linked payment directly to the Bank account of contractors, Electronic Dashboard Electronic Repository of bills, voucher, scroll, inspections and Email/SMS/alerts/OTP bases notifications are also important features of e-MARG.

On the occasion, the first payment was also released through e-MARG online payment system to M/S J K Engineering Construction Company, Prop. Mohammad Rafiq Bhat, the residence of Pampore against the maintenance of a road of Krimshore, Drigam District Budgam under PMGSY.

Chief Engineer, PMGSY Kashmir; Director Finance, R&B; SE PMGSY, Srinagar; besides other concerned officers were also present on the occasion.

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Infra

Land acquisition process for NH-444 in Shopian reviewed

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Land acquisition for NH-444 in Shopian

BK News

Srinagar: Deputy Commissioner Shopian Sachin Kumar Vaishya Tuesday held a meeting to review the land acquisition process for NH-444 within the stipulated time frame in the district. 

The National Highway-444 is an alternate highway to NH-44. It starts at Qazigund in Jammu and Kashmir and ends in Srinagar, passing via district Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama

The meeting held a detailed review of the present status of the land acquisition process and discussed the steps required for removing the bottlenecks for the timely completion of the process. 

He advised all the concerned officers to complete the land acquisition process for NH-444 in Shopian within a few days. 

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mushtaq Ahmad Simnani; Assistant commissioner Revenue, Shahbaz Ahmad Bodha; Tehsildar Shopian, LDM, Executive Engineer R&B 1st Division Srinagar, Naib Tehsildars and other concerned officers attended the meeting.

The general public in the twin districts of Shopian and Kulgam have requested the administration for completing the demarcation of the land for the national highway at the earliest, as the ambiguity of road tracts at certain places is creating confusion among them.  

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Editorial

Srinagar roads unfriendly for pedestrians 

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Srinagar roads unfriendly for pedestrians 

Lack of footpaths, walkways makes it dangerous for people to move around in the city.

As the vehicular traffic in the Srinagar roads has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the last few years, it is becoming extremely dangerous for pedestrians to move around in the city. On the one side, fast-moving traffic is making it life-threatening to cross the roads and streets, while on the other side, illegal encroachment of footpaths, walkways is pushing back foot-travellers to walk alongside the cars and motorcycles on transport tracks at great risk to their lives.

When there are no legal provisions for protecting pedestrians and their movement, our government and policymakers do not plan safe passages, neither there are proper crossing points in their road designs. Existing footpaths and crossing points are ill-planned and without any zebra crossing signs. As on-street parking takes precedence over pedestrian infrastructure like paved sidewalks in our city planning, space for pedestrian movement is shrinking fast on the city roads. It is a dangerous trend for a city that homes more than two million people, is touted as a metropolis, and projected as a key tourist destination.

Modern cities are not only pedestrian-friendly, but they take special care of the needs of children and old age people. People with disabilities, especially those with mobility issues, face a hard time moving around in Srinagar city. There is no way that one can push around a wheelchair or a pram.

Pedestrian right of way needs to be the priority of any road planning in the city, but it is otherwise here.

Most of the existing footpaths – as the pavements or sidewalks are named here – are narrow or full of obstacles making them unfit for public use. There is no uniformity. At some places, these footpaths are so high that they look like a supporting bund or retention wall. At many junctions, they lack connectivity with each other. Electricity poles, TV and telecommunication cable poles, billboards, even city beautification lights and trees are installed, in such a way, that these footpaths automatically become unusable.   

While traffic lights have been installed at many major traffic junctions in the city from time to time, but most of them are not made functional due to unknown reasons. There are no pedestrian crossing arrangements at these traffic crossing points. Even vehicular blockades are laid without keeping into consideration foot travellers. Take the example of Jehangir Chowk – Exhibition Ground junction, which witnesses heavy traffic throughout the day. As there is no system to stop the traffic, to let the pedestrians cross, it is extremely difficult for the people on foot to cross the congested junction. (These issues cannot be overcome by painting the pillars of the overhead bridge.)

The same is the case ahead of Badshah Bridge near the Maisuma-Koker Bazaar crossing. People keep crossing in moving traffic, mostly at great risk to their life and safety. In fact, there are no designated pedestrian crossing points in the entire Srinagar city.  

While the administration keeps saying that Srinagar will be developed into a world-class ‘smart city’, they should note that it is not possible by allowing haphazard and unplanned constructions by both the private sector and the government agencies. 

Modern cities are not only pedestrian-friendly, but they take special care of the needs of children and old age people. People with disabilities, especially those with mobility issues, face a hard time moving around in Srinagar city. There is no way that one can push around a wheelchair or a pram.

To make Srinagar a modern city, its roads not only need redesign but more focus must be given to footpaths, sidewalks, bicycle tracks and sophisticated public transport. That is doable within the available resources.

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Infra

SKUAST-K bags EU project for urban green infrastructure  

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SKUAST-K bags EU project

 Srinagar, April 19: Adding another feather to its cap, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Kashmir has bagged a prestigious European Union (EU) Project, ‘URGENT’, for the promotion of urban green infrastructure and climate-friendly liveable cities.

The project has been granted to the SKUAST-K’s Faculty of Forestry under the European Union’s Erasmus education programme on ‘Urban Resilience and Adaptation through Nature-based Solutions’ as a project partner.

‘URGENT’ is yet another such prestigious project received by the university. Earlier in 2019, the university got a Rs 30-crore grant under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) jointly funded by the World Bank and Indian Council of Agricultural Research for the institutional development of the SKUAST-K.

University after signing the agreement with the University of Bremen, Germany entered into a collaboration with four European Universities, three universities and two institutes in Mongolia, besides three universities and two institutes in India with a consortium outlay of one million Euros (€). The grant agreement pre-signed by Director of Finance and Administration, University of Bremen, Frauke Meyer, was signed by V-C SKUAST-K, Prof JP Sharma in presence of Director Planning and Monitoring Prof NA Ganai, Dean Faculty of Forestry Prof TH Masoodi, and Principal Investigator of the project Dr Akhlaq Amin Wani.

The V-C at the moment lauded the Dean Forestry for encouraging the scientists of the faculty for achieving such a historic feat. He congratulated PI of the project Dr Akhlaq Amin Wani for bringing laurels to the university.

Prof NA Ganai in his remarks congratulated the project and said that bagging such projects will make the presence of SKUAST-K felt at the global level.

Theproject is the first of its kind for SKUAST-K in receiving a direct grant fromthe European Union and provides an opportunity to enter into collaboration withsome of the finest universities in Europe including the University of BremenGermany, University of Catania Italy, Estonian University of Life Sciences andMartin Luther University Germany besides some of the leading universities andinstitutes in Mongolia and India.

The project aim is to promote green & blue infrastructure and nature-based solutions (GBI&NBS) for resilient, climate-friendly and liveable cities through ICT-enhanced tertiary education linked to labour markets & wider stakeholder circles.

It is joint research in managing urban forest, resilience and adaptation, revising existing curricula with European standards, capacity building and creation of learning platforms for enhancing green and blue infrastructure in the respective regions.

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