Srinagar, Sept 11: As work on the Srinagar Semi Ring Road Project, despite delays, is now being prioritised, a cascade land price rise in Budgam towns and villages is driving new boom in modern horticulture and construction.
Pertinently, Srinagar’s crucial Semi Ring Road Project is meant to provide an alternative to the existing, and congested, Bypass Road from Pantha Chowk and Parimpora. The new road will link Pulwama’s Galander hub, traverse through Srinagar’s outskirts and then mainly carve through the Budgam District.
With land acquisition and compensation to farmers now having been revived, demand for land in Budgam and Srinagar suburbs linked to Budgam district are rising. As farmers receive compensation, many plan to buy land in upper kandi areas to start modern apple orchards. Some land owners, having their lands close to the boundaries of the new Semi Ring Road, are building or planning commercial complexes.
“It is like the construction boom witnessed along Srinagar’s Bypass and Parimpora-Shalteng belt in the late 90s”, says Abdul Gaffar a resident of a village near Srinagar Airport.
Land use experts see this situation as a “mixed blessing”.
“The good thing in this is that new connectivity will create bigger economic opportunities in towns like Chadoora, Budgam, etc. As some traditional paddy and orchard lands would be consumed in the semi Ring Road Project, farmers’ priority to buy more land with the compensation money and start modern apple orchards marks a big socio-economic change in Budgam”, says Basit Ahmed, an orchard consultant.
This situation is having a cascade effect. As farmers receive their compensation money, most of them are buying cheaper and bigger lands in karewa highlands, where poor farmers are getting better prices for their otherwise low-cost lands.
Most importantly, the Semi Ring Road project is likely to provide crucial and better road connectivity for farmers in vegetable hotspot areas like Chadoora, to transport their produce. Currently, farmers suffer there for poor Road connectivity.
“We are now realising what kind of development new road projects can bring. I see it with my own eyes in Jammu how the Ring Road project there has changed lives of many farmers there for the better. We feel sad that unthoughtful litigations delayed Srinagar’s Semi Ring Road project by a few years”, says Fayaz Ahmed from Budgam, whose land is marked for possession, adding, “If we had accepted the compensation in time and planned new things we would not have lost so much time.”
Some villagers are also reflecting on the general inflation today and the prospects for them to buy affordable land elsewhere.
“Today, even if we get more compensation, that means little for us because prices for land and everything else in the market has increased manifold since then. But, nevertheless, we want to see the Semi Ring Road work to start very soon so that we also plan our new initiatives”, said Abdul Gaffar who lives near Yechgam.