The capital city of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir is in for a major facelift as preparations for hosting one of the four G 20 tourism track meetings in the city are in the finals stages. The city on the banks of the Jhelum River has been selected as one of the 56 cities across India to host 215 meetings during India’s Presidency of G 20 this year.
Kashmir being the venue of the G-20 meeting is a politically significant move as China, which, at times, supported Pakistan on its claim that the territory was disputed, will also be present in the meeting.
The plans for making the day-long meeting in May a huge success have been afoot for one month. May is the end of the spring and early summer in Kashmir when trees are full of blossoms and the ground is covered with melting snow and farmers preparing for sowing paddy.
The city’s doddering wooden poles to support power cables will be replaced, and so will the rusted plant guards, and hanging cables. the city will become free of debris in the coming days.
The plans include painting all the Government and commercial building walls along the main roads to increase the aesthetic value of those structures. Besides, Pole also asked officials to ensure the pruning of trees, plantation of ornamental plants on medians, and removal of dead or dying vegetation along the roads.
The officers surveyed the road from the Airport to the Dal Lake to oversee the ongoing works for refurbishing the cityscape.
The roads to be upgraded include Residency Road, Boulevard Road, and the one leading to a hill on the banks of Dal lake where the delegates could be staying in a five-star hotel. The delegates will be housed in Hotel Lalit, Hotel Taj, and Nehru Guest House - all located in scenic surroundings.
They are also expected to visit the Mughal gardens, Parimahal, Cheshmashahi, Botanical Garden, Gulmarg, Zeastha Mata Temple, Shankaracharya temple, Hazratbal shrine, and all the roads leading to these places will be upgraded.
The spaces under the flyovers will showcase local art and will be beautified further.
Pole also directed the Public health department authorities to replace the overground water pipes and make them underground to clear space on footpaths and roads.
The Floriculture department will replace the dried flower plants from hanging pots in the medians and plant fresh ones.
To clear the visual pollution of wires and cables, he directed for removal of cables and wire meshes. Pole asked traffic police for the orientation of traffic signals and the functioning of traffic signals beside the installation of traffic signages. Pole instructed for use of Swachh Bharat Mission symbols and boards with the ranking of the city on SBM. Besides, he underlined the installation of welcome signages and boards at different locations.
An official spokesman said Pole asked all the departments to submit a compliance report of planned works on a fortnightly basis. All the works have to be completed by 15 April.
Sources said the preparations for the meeting were initiated weeks before December 1, 2022, when India took over the G 20 Presidency for a year.