Sopore, once a town of great significance and prosperity, fell into the lap of misfortune and despair with smell of blood of the innocents caused by the wrath of militancy and anti national sentiments. The place has always been a glaring hope for Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. Sopore when it was founded in antiquity was and still is one of the most potential towns of North Kashmir in terms of development and business. It has been almost three decade since the militancy had been taken away normalcy in Sopore but now due to changes this place is changing with the positiveness in environment and its amply visible among the people. People of Kashmir are now choosing the path of development, education, business and a healthy and prosperous lifestyle. The most profound impact is seen in the town of Sopore which is free from any militant activity from last eleven months. People are seen shopping in streets, roaming outside till late evening, children are seen attending school regularly and sports stadiums/ grounds are over crowded. The change which is seen today is a result of the actions of security forces as well as support of people of Sopore who desperately wanted a change in their life.
The place is interspersed with two important rivers Jhelum and Pohru and on the eastern bank is the world’s largest fresh water lake Wular. Thus it has vast potential for fisheries and tourism which has recently picked up pace after the situation has normalized in town. Popularly known as the Apple Town of India, Sopore houses Asia’s second largest Fruit Mandi which adds numbers to the economy of the state. Sopore is also synonymous with Sufism, as its roots are here. Old monuments, Ziarats and their architecture are a big tourist attraction. Most important asset with Sopore is the people of Sopore who have now slowly but steadily started to shift their focus towards the life of normalcy and are educating their children in good private as well as government schools. Talking about seen development since the abrogation of Article 370, there are almost 10 new private schools which have opened up and are providing quality education to the children. The town is also potentially rich in horticulture as it produces walnuts, cherries, apples etc, however the cropping area needs to be conserved.
Sopore as a mandi town is generating business, improving standard of living and generating employment in the entire Kashmir valley. The government’s master plan for Sopore aims to develop it as an emerging growth centre of value added industries and hub of agro based food processing industries as well as a wholesale trade centre in coming future. It is actually maintaining the unique character of apple town by preserving orchards and also thus horticulture products like almonds, peach, cheery, walnuts etc. Over the years it has mugged out to as a balanced city having important functions such as to live, work and recreate. The town needs to be developed however, keeping in mind the following to maintain its unique character. Commercial, educational, medical and recreational facilities on hierarchical manner.
Exploring the potential development of wholesale and trading centre as a place of business and recreation Preserving orchards and plantation Riverfront development and to provide recreation areas to enhance city’s image. The physical growth of Sopore is along the transportation corridor. There is more likely development of town towards North-western side along Nowpora Kalan village and towards south-eastern side along Tarazeau village on Srinagar road, where sufficient area of non-agriculture plain land is available to accommodate the future growth and development. The under construction new bypass and bridge will definitely give impetus to development in the southern side of the town in coming future.
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