Eminent businessman of Srinagar Sheikh Imran, an independent corporator backed by Congress, was in November elected Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
He has also been an active figure on resolution and peace process front . In an exclusive interview with News Kashmir , he talks to Farzana Mumtaz and Rameez Makhdoomi .
We have limited the contours of Srinagar City to few areas and overall it looks a Grand mess. Your take as Deputy Mayor?
The observation that Srinagar City is not just a place of few areas is quite valid as it is not just about karanagar or Rajbagh only but from khanyar to Pandch, Hiaderpora to Gulabagh and scores of other areas make the historical Srinagar city . The reason Srinagar City has been mess is that exploitative and wrong minded politics has been played by vested interests to ensure that just ten percent vote and ninety percent remain aloof from the progress and development .
Those who dream to be real change makers are put to series of hurdles and problems .To stop my journey JK Bank loan issue is being cropped.
What is the bank loan issue about and your pendency of about 128 crore?
The bank has itself settled my case at 78 core out of which 51 crore are already paid and I am ready to pay further 27 crore.
Basically some earthly demigods tried best to stop my dream of becoming Deputy mayor but failed as I have firm faith in Allah. The irritants are being caused because I have been against a particular party which I am still.
How can we bring positive change in Srinagar?
The Srinagar City has faced unprecedented mess and misgovernance and it is like last stage of Cancer. Although I never lose hope when a place like Old Delhi can be given good ambience why not Srinagar, we are one of the historical cities of world. Srinagar Municipal Corporation will be having 35 services in hand and we will make Srinagar a great city in terms of development and infrastructure. We seek effective support of people as without them we cannot bring positive change. The employees of SMC too will also feel proud to be part of the corporation and it is our goal.
How does it feel as Posts like Mayor, Deputy Mayor have been revived after long?
Well the valley currently has just four elected people Muzafar Baigh, Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Mayor, Deputy Mayor and I guess two more Rajya Sabha members .
I feel we need these municipal elections regularly and not having these posts has been deceit with common people and their dreams as Municipal governance is the grassroots governance and we need it to change the face on ground zero which is possible only via this form of grassroot governance .
NC, PDP had boycotted these elections and some voices among these parties questioned the credibility of these elections, do you believe once if any of these parties form government they will cause impediment in your way?
Well be it NC or PDP, Congress or BJP I guess on large scale everyone is interested in better urban governance in the state and for that municipal corporations are backbone.
We are getting overall warm gestures from every party and few isolated voices don’t matter and my opinion is that we won’t have any problems whoever forms the government in the state.
Some believe there are too many departments handling Srinagar like the famous adage goes too many cooks spoiling the broth?
I disagree with you on this as there is still burning need of increasing officials, officers and Departments that cater to needs of Srinagar.
But then what about lack of coordination?
Yes lack of coordination has been a serious issue. PHE has been going One Direction, R and B other, SDA other, that is why we have seen one department repairing roads other digging it.
We have the act for same purpose wherein all is done under one roof in Municipality department to ensure better urban governance, similarly to achieve better and progressive Srinagar SMC is going to have 35 services under its belt and all departments coordinating with it effectively and thus lack of coordination will finish.
What is being done to improve garbage dumping system ?
There is already waste to energy programme and there is company that has participated in it .We are not new to garbage neither is garbage new to us .As a Deputy Mayor I would ensure world class dumping site come up which does not cause any smell problems to vicinity .When Singapore can use solid waste for farming and dump it in sea or lake why can’t we .
Dog menace is a serious issue, but then animal rights activists have raised question mark, how will you strike balance?
I would like to say Dog Menace has been serious issue for our city and my predecessors either have been ignorant or their intentions are questionable, we will implement the same standard pattern of sterilization as is being done in parts like Delhi. Standard sterilization centres would be established across Kashmir.
Electricity crisis in Srinagar city and other parts of Kashmir, your take on it?
The electricity problem is a very big problem. We are having problems at transmission end I have talked on this issue with engineers and commissioners. By February I assure their would not be major electricity issue in Srinagar.
What about safeguarding wetlands ?
Wetlands are of paramount importance to us and unfortunately we have lost many of them in past few decades but now we will take every step to protect them and I believe we should be grateful to Mahraja who gave us flood channels and institutions of excellence but after that since some decades our progress has come to halt.
You are very active in peace process and facilitated meet of Joint resistance leaders with former Norway PM according to some reports, why don’t you use same repo with government of India which matters most ?
I am very grateful to Shri Shri Ravi Shankar for aiding our efforts of peace . For six years Hurriyat leaders shut doors ,and ex Norway PM came and met trade, lawyers and Hurriyat . if we want to stop bloodshed then peace process in form of dialogue and talks is must . USA has failed somewhere .
Your suggestions are valid we need to prepare government of India for talks and taking other countries also on board is must .Bloodshed is destroying kashmir . The way things are going it looks Kashmir is born to get killed and each one of us need to make efforts to save our generations .