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SAC approves Bill to regulate, promote growth of Jammu, Srinagar

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Initiates process for setting up MRDAs

Jammu, Dec 19: The State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, has approved a Bill to promote and regulate the growth and development in Jammu and Srinagar, officials said Wednesday.

The landmark Metropolitan Regional Development Authorities Bill-2018 aims to set up an integrative institutional framework through metropolitan regional development authorities (MRDAs) for the twin cities, an official spokesman said.

The SAC has observed that these cities have witnessed rapid expansion over the past few decades, thereby, posing huge challenges of urbanisation, he said.

The council feels there is a need to augment resources related to urban infrastructure and for futuristic planning with the possibility of developing new townships and metros, the spokesman said.

He said despite efforts, the infrastructure and nature of urban development have not been able to keep up with rapid developments in Jammu and Srinagar.

Several states in the country have revisited their institutional frameworks to address such issues. Pune, Mumbai, Gurgaon and Hyderabad are such cities which have got metropolitan regional authorities, the spokesman said.

"The proposed framework is based on the premise that infrastructure planning cannot react to population growth but has to precede it," he said.

The Bill provides for the establishment of MRDAs for Jammu and Srinagar. These authorities will coordinate and supervise proper, orderly and rapid development of areas in these regions, as well as execution of plans, projects and schemes, the spokesman said.

"The MRDAs will have the power to develop new townships, set up joint ventures for infrastructure development and promote new metros and so on," he said.

The spokesman said they will develop plans for infrastructure development based on the notified master plan and defined parameters; comprehensive mobility for movement of traffic and public transportation.

The MRDAs will also look into sustainable management of the urban environment.

He said these authorities will have powers to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both moveable and immoveable.

The functioning of MRDAs will not overlap with those of municipal and local authorities, the spokesman said.

MRDAs will create basic infrastructure and city level services, but the user-end provision of water, sewerage and sanitation facilities, street lighting will be performed by local authorities, he said.

The setting up of the MRDAs is the first step in making Srinagar and Jammu modern cities, the spokesman said.

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