SRINAGAR : The Town Planning Organization Kashmir (TPO), Housing & Urban Development Department (H&UDD), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with WRI-India that has been mandated to provide technical services and other expertise towards urban development of Srinagar Metropolitan Area.

The MoU was signed in presence of Principal Secretary H&UDD, Dheeraj Gupta between Chief Town Planner Kashmir, Iftikhar Ahmad Hakim and Senior Manager WRI-India, Surya Prakash.

Pertinently, the mandate of WRI India is to play as an anchor institute on the LAP-TPS Scheme under Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to support pilot cities in legislative reviews, area identification, planning and development, and capacity building.

Speaking on the occasion, Principal Secretary termed the signing of the agreement as a proud moment and called an important beginning towards town planning development in Kashmir.

He reaffirmed government’s commitment to provide all possible support with respect to better quality of living in planned agglomerates. He added that Srinagar city has been chosen among 25 cities selected under pilot project in India by Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs under AMRUT Scheme.

“The work for structural urban planning has been initiated and the need is to take it forward rigorously where urban development can be used as a new tool to benefit both people and the government besides it will also bring economic benefits to the region,” Dheeraj Gupta maintained.

Quoting the example of projects like ring-roads in Srinagar, he said these projects have huge potential of new townships for which the need would be to provide better quality of living, housing and other spaces.

He impressed upon all the stakeholders to work together in planning the development of urban centers in order to create beautiful residential and commercial settlements in Srinagar Metropolitan Area.

Earlier, a sensitization workshop on pilot formulation of Local Areas Plan (LAP) and Town Planning Scheme (TPS) was conducted where experts and officers from Town Planning, INTACH Kashmir chapter, officers from development authorities and Revenue department besides experts and specialists from various universities participated.

The interactive session deliberated on several issues with respect to urban development like demographic paradigm shift, increase in urban population, retrofit and re-development and increase in capacity building by taking innovative measures.

The experts and officers discussed useful aspects of LAP and TPS to the public, businesses, development authorities besides Government and the environment.

The workshop opined that LAP and TPS can build the government’s brand image and create tourism potential for particular areas besides ensuring development of industries and employment generation.

It also discussed the objectives of the LAP and TPS pilot scheme and cited the areas chosen for the pilot project in the Srinagar Metropolitan Area.