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Jammu Mayor Chander lays out plans to make winter capital 'smart city'

Newly elected Jammu Mayor Chander Mohan Gupta Monday spelt out his plans to make the winter capital a 'smart city' through a multi-sectoral treatment.

He said the ailing town needed a multi-pronged approach with regard to anti-encroachment movement, beautification, better sanitation and completion of development projects.

"We will make Jammu city which is ailing in several sectors, a healthy city for the people. Apart from a healthy city, our aim and focus will also be on converting it into a clean and green city," Gupta told PTI in an interview.

Jammu is facing massive encroachment of its state and forest lands apart from haphazard constructions, lack of good drainage systems and poor sanitation.

"We also have to make this city healthy. The city is facing the onslaught of dengue and other respiratory and water-borne diseases. Children are falling ill," the mayor said.

Talking about his strategy to improve sanitation facilities in the winter capital, the BJP leader said the focus will be on construction of more toilets, better drainage setup and garbage disposal mechanisms as well as ensuring the city is totally polythene-free.

On the problem of encroachments, he said the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) will bring traders and other stakeholders on the table.

"I am myself a trader. We will visit all marketplaces and city areas and bring all trade associations, corporates and other representatives on board for creating a society-based movement to remove encroachments," the Jammu mayor said, adding a confrontational approach will not be adopted to address the issue.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had in the state assembly said 1,510 acres of land had been encroached upon in the city, as it admitted that the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) was yet to demarcate 6,818 acres of land meant for the developmental purpose.

Gupta also emphasised on beautification of the city by carving out attractive river banks, city parks, painting walls with heritage sites and beautifying heritage old city, Mubarak Mandi Dogra monuments, broadening roads and artificial lakes.

"Brisk plantation and ornamentation of Jammu city with flower pots will be taken up at various places. Besides, two auto rickshaws will be deployed in every ward, which will stay on the move to remove debris from the city," the newly elected mayor said.

"Most importantly, all these initiatives will have a timeline," he said.

Jammu Deputy Mayor Purnima Sharma said review meetings of all these projects have already started.

The BJP had swept the JMC polls, winning 43 of the 75 wards.

Flagging shortage of staff like sweepers as a "major obstacle", Gupta added he will take up the issue with authorities concerned and ensure that all vacant posts were filled up.

"If the need arises, we will re-employee retired persons who are fit to work," he said.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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