Entry to Old city- Babul Iqbal awaits completion

BK Correspondent/Srinagar
August 12, 2017 CITY 236 Views

The entry gate to old city Babul Iqbal is awaiting completion since last six years which though was highly prioritized by the state government to attract tourists.
Started in 2011, the Babul Iqbal was a part of the larger beautification plan for BrariNambal Lagoon, which was to be developed as a water park. But the beautification project never really started.
The project involved major departments including Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), J&K Tourism, Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), Urban Environmental Engineering Department (UEED), and R&B.
Once completed, the gate will serve as an entry point to the old Srinagar, and, as per the authorities, would be a welcome remark to the visiting tourists.
In 2011, the government sanctioned Rs. 1.20 crore for its construction.
However, it came under sharp criticism from experts, who questioned its location.
The gate has an array of residential colonies on one side and a ruined lagoon on the other, convincing the observers that its location may not be correct for anyone headed to the old city.
A few mishaps have happened at the spot, as the gate’s pillars have consumed a good part of the narrow road. In September 2015, for instance, a mishap killed two people on the spot.
“Why create a gate on a road that is already narrow and witnesses traffic jams?” asked Zareef Ahmad Zareef, a noted satirist who happens to live in old Srinagar.
“Aesthetically too, its location is not perfect. It has a huge marsh on one end and a cluster of unplanned colonies on the other. You don’t want tourists to witness this while they enter Sheher-e-Khaas (old Srinagar).”
Officails said that the gate has seen several official roadblocks over the years.

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