SMC would leave no stone unturned to make Srinagar city a better place to live : Athar Aamir Khan, Commissioner SMC
Young and dynamic Indian Administrative Officer ( IAS) ,Athar Aamir Khan, the Commissioner of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in an exclusive interview with the News Kashmir talks to Rameez Makhdoomi and Farzana Mumtaz.
How did the idea of taking up as IAS as career option came ?
Basically , I was studying at IIT Mandi , Himachal Pradesh , the Electric Engineering Course and in the last year of study I changed the mind to go into the Indian Administrative Services , as I had mostly been lot outside Jammu and Kashmir for studies I could compare career opportunities . Initially I wanted to go for higher studies but I found IAS best to serve the public and also contribute to any sector infrastructure or social via your position and resources available and contribute to development of the country .The work you do impacts many people and changes their lives towards betterment In countries like ours one can play role of catalyst via being civil servant .
Is working in place like Kashmir a challenge ?Every place has its own challenges . I belong to Kashmir and I am quite familiar with the place and that is advantageous .Whether you work in Kashmir or Jaipur or any other part of the country it is the effort that counts .
Downtown seems to be ignored no proper sanitation and Sewerage facilities and what about progress on Srinagar a smart city project ?Downtown would be never ignored . Smart city has two components one is Area based Development and in the context of Srinagar city Downtown is the zone for ABD Development and second is Pan City Development projects like IT projects and vending zones. We have also taken in city beautify projects under smart city like building toilets ,more vending zones , cycling zones . We are also looking into effective and dynamic solid waste management and taken four wards as pilot wards . We have taken up hundred percent door to door collection and proper seperate disposable of biogredable and non biogredabble . We will have via these pilot wards what sort of overall infrastructure we require for efficient Solid waste management for entire city . The experience of these four wards will help us in knowing challenge ,people response and thus effective implementation for overall city .We want to make waste management bin free and liter free and have done same in these four wards and if anyone disposed waste outside they would be penalised . Media has key role to play in awaring people in this context .Now via Reforms and Amendments many department have been brought under SMC preview especially roads of city , will your human resource strength support this much burden ?Yes ten department have been transferred under our preview . City road division and small roads meaning some 364 roads comprising of 1400 kilometers have been transferred to us . This process is in transition. We already have works division in SMC that would cater to this . Once the transition takes place it would all be streamlined . We are already in talks with Rand B to ensure smooth implementation and transition .Drainage system of the Srinagar city has been pathetic to say the least ,how will you improve same ?Drainage system of Srinagar would definitely improve in coming times.The geography of the Srinagar city is such that water has to be pumped out , we have around 85 Permanent dewatering Stations and they had problem of getting inundated during floods . There is Jehlum Tawi Flood Recovery project run under World bank and under this programme we are upgrading the capacity of these dewatering Pumps . We have kept utilities like Gensets at quite height and they won’t be impacted even in floods . We need to remember these dewatering Stations dont cover entire city but main parts of it . For other we have mobile pumps which are now being deployed immediately in areas that get drenched immediately . The requirement of getting compact drainage for thousand kilometers or more in Srinagar city is needed and we will make those drainage that works efficiently . It is a long term and would depend on financial outlook .
One more challenge every SMC commissioner has faced is Dog Menace and you are also dealing with same . How will you address with it ?See the intention can’t be that dogs should go away . We need to remember that say we have fifty thousand dogs but population should not go up . There are laid out guidelines by the Supreme court and Animal Welfare Board . The vaccination of dogs and sterilising dog population to control it is way ahead . We have to rehabilitate Dogs back to their habitat according to laid out guidelines . We need good infrastructure to do effective Dog sterilising and we are in touch with other Municipal Corporations how they deal with the issue . But , let me tell you our modus operandi is to ensure Dog sterilising in efficient way and very sooner .Would SMC be tough against illegal Constructions especially that come up during pandemic and also action against illegal occupation of footpaths ?SMC has reorganized it’s encroachments wing . Wherever we are getting information about illegal Construction we are taking up immediate action and also freeing the footpaths is also our priority and being taken up.Will we witness Srinagar as smart city in the year 2030 ?Smart city is a subjective term . If we keep our city clean and follow traffic rules, stop power thefts , value the water and warerbodies and protecting our heritage we would be automatically smart city . Yes taking up infrastructure projects would be continuos process and building compact infrastructure for Srinagar city is top priority .
Your message to public ?
My message to people is to cooperate with our SMC workers especially during cleanness and sanitation . We need public cooperation to keep city always clean and we as SMC would leave no stone unturned to make Srinagar city a better place to live .