Srinagar: A significant initiative is underway to transform the cityscape and rejuvenate historical water passages by introducing battery-powered boats as part of a new public transportation system expected to launch in early 2024. These boats aim to address the commuting needs of local residents residing within the lake vicinity and connect cultural landmarks situated along the Jhelum riverbanks.
The plan outlines the deployment of a total of 32 battery-powered boats navigating across five basins of Dal Lake, encompassing Nehru Park, Nishat Bagh, Hazratbal, Nigeen, and Barari Nambal basins. To enable this, extensive dredging will take place along water routes like the Dalgate-Rainawari path, reinstating access to areas such as the Shalimar Garden, which were previously only reachable via the lake.
Anuj Malhotra, the General Manager of Planning at Srinagar Smart City Limited, informed The Hindu newspaper, stating, “We are fully prepared to introduce water transport on the Dal Lake and Jhelum river in Srinagar to alleviate congestion and provide an alternative public transportation mode.” Malhotra added, “The approval process for boat prototypes is in its final stages. In the initial phase, two boat types – eight-seaters and 20-seaters – will be launched next year.”
These boats aim to serve the transportation needs of the local populace dwelling in the lake and along the Jhelum River.
This initiative also signifies the reopening of Dal Lake’s rear waters to visitors, offering a distinctive experience reminiscent of the Mughal era when these waterways were utilized by empresses to access the renowned gardens at the foothills of Zabarwan.