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Naeem Akhtar visits Shahr-e-Khaas

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Takes stock of development works; Reviews Ramadan arrangements at Jamia Masjid, Hazratbal, other shrines

SRINAGAR, MAY 16: Following up on the commitments made by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Minister of Public Works and Culture, Naeem Akhtar, today undertook an extensive tour of Shahr-e-Khaas here to personally review the progress of development works in Srinagar’s Old City areas.

The Minister also visited the historic Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta and various revered shrines in the Old City to review the arrangements for the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

“Under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti, the government is committed to restore the glory of this historic city. Our engineers have made small beginning for landscaping of some Old City areas which now needs to be expanded to other localities,” Akhtar said, while ordering the civil administration to carry out quick repairs of city roads, including Syed Mirakshah and Nallamar roads. He also asked the administration to complete the widening of Khanyar-Nowhatta road by the end of this year while ensuring rehabilitation of displaced locals and traders.

Akhtar said the development of Srinagar city on modern lines is top priority for the state government, and the civil and police administration must ensure proper sanitation, hassle-free traffic movement and assured electricity supply to all the prominent places of worship and shrines in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley so that the people, who offer prayers there during the holy month of Ramadan, don’t face any inconvenience.

Accompanied by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, IGP Kashmir, S P Pani, IGP Traffic, Basant Rath, District Development Commissioner Srinagar, Syed Abid Rasheed and other senior officers of civil and police administration, and hundreds of enthusiastic locals, the Works Minister toured some prominent places of worship in downtown city including Jamia Masjid, the shrines of Dastgeersaheb and Naqashbandsaheb, and Asar-e-Sharief Dargah Hazratbal.

At Jamia Masjid, the Minister asked the district administration to make permanent arrangements for vendors who hold their trade inside the park of the mosque which sometimes causes inconvenience to worshippers.

“The Divisional Commissioner will hold separate meeting with the traders and members of the Auqaf Committee Jamia Masjid to find a permanent solution to this issue,” Akhtar said, adding that the pace of construction of ‘Community Centre’ in the vicinity of Jamia Masjid must be sped up and the project should be handed over to the people soon.

While touring Naqashband sahib shrine, the Minister was apprised by locals about the issues of sanitation and erratic electricity supply to the shrine. Akhtar said the government is committed to providing 24×7 electricity supply and asked the PDD to avoid power cuts.

“Lighting arrangements are being augmented at places of worship across Kashmir and most defunct lights have been replaced to avoid any hassles to worshippers during the holy month of Ramzan,” the Minister said.

The Minister also reviewed the developmental works going on at the shrine of Dastgeersaheb where he was apprised about a court case which has stalled construction of the shrine’s Noor Khana, “Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar must pursue the case in court vigorously and have the stay on the construction vacated soon,” he said

The Minister also asked the Jammu Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation to speed up the last finishing touches to new electric wiring of the shrine. “J&K Police and SMC must also jointly launch a campaign to clean up Malkha Cemetery and ensure that it doesn’t become a den for unscrupulous elements,” he said.

At Dargah Hazratbal, the Minister reviewed the construction of new washroom block and multi-level parking. He also took stock of special arrangements being made for devotees at the shrine during the holy month of Ramadan.

During the tour, Inspector General of Traffic Basant Rath said they have made elaborate plans for peak hour rush, especially on Fridays, Shabe-e-Qadr and Eid following the holy month of Ramadan. “Special traffic plan has been formulated for uninterrupted traffic to Jamia Masjid and Dargah Hazratbal,” Rath said.

SMC Commissioner, Riyaz Ahmad and heads of various Engineering departments also accompanied the Minister.

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