Amidst the blossoming of cherry, peach, apple, and pear; the fragrance of roses wafting through the Kashmir Valley, and farmers cultivating paddy, 100 delegates from 20 countries are scheduled to descend on Srinagar for the G-20 meeting on tourism in Srinagar on May 23.
Preparations to develop and beautify the city of Srinagar set along the Jhelum river are in overdrive as it will be the first ever major international meet to be held in the Valley in decades. The delegates would discuss common approaches to promoting tourism among the member countries.
Preparations were already afoot for the meeting even before India assumed the Presidency of G-20 on December 1. The face-lifting of the summer capital rolled out through the harsh winter season.
Srinagar is among 56 Indian cities where 215 meetings of the G-20 are being held in the run-up to the G-20 Summit to be held in November. However, it's among the locations for G-20 meetings that is aimed at sending a political message across the world.
The G-20 meeting is being held at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) located on the banks of Dal Lake.
The J&K Government is planning to put its best foot forward to show the scenic splendour of Jammu and Kashmir.
All eyes will be on the G 20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar as it has irked India's neighbours and traditional rivals like Pakistan and China.
Residency Road of Srinagar being renovated
During the past three months, major roads, parks, Government buildings, commercial structures, and under-construction sites have been given facelifts. The Government has issued instructions to the authorities to “enhance the facade of roads through the development of footpaths, medians, traffic road furnishing, landscape improvement, installation of roadside VMDs, installation of hoardings besides removal of wooden poles, rusted plant guards, hanging cable wires and unnecessary road dividers and debris”.
The roads to be developed and upgraded include the road from Srinagar Airport to SKICC, Residency Road, Boulevard Road, roads leading to Hotel Lalit, Hotel Taj, and Nehru Guest House; roads leading to Mughal Gardens, Parimahal, Cheshmashahi, Botanical Garden, Srinagar to Gulmarg, Roads towards Zeastha Temple, Shankar Acharya, Dalgate to Hazratbal, besides beautification of spaces under flyovers.
With a compliance report every 15 days, the administration in January had fixed a deadline of April 15, for completion of all the works.
Students from school to university levels have been actively engaged in organizing programs to spread awareness about India’s G-20 Presidency over the past two months.
In preparation for the G 20 summit, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Vijay Kumar Bidhuri on Tuesday night conducted a site visit and inspection of Srinagar Smart City Ltd (SSCL) developmental projects regarding the up-gradation of footpaths, construction of cycle tracks and macadamization of roads.
After the review the divisional commissioner has extended the deadline of 10 days to “most of the works including concrete works, footpaths, tiling works, drainage works, under-ground works, landscaping and turfing that are still going on including the blacktopping works and installation of signages”, an official spokesman said. These works, mostly in the Lal Chowk area include M A Road, leading to Dal Lake, and the SKICC, Residency Road, which are going on under the Smart City project.
These include the redevelopment of Lal Chowk, the cycle track along Northern Foreshore Road, the Redevelopment of Polo View Market, and the Jhelum Riverfront Development.
Preparations are also afoot in various Departments like Health.
The medical staff is being trained and updated regarding healthcare equipment and facilities which will be available during the G20 summit”, an official spokesman here said. Sources here said these arrangements were also reviewed in and around the Gulmarg tourist spot, as the dignitaries are scheduled to visit on May 25.