Srinagar: Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in the past two months have fined over 60 people found polluting the environment. According to the SMC officials they are trying to ‘talk’ to people regarding the importance of sanitation however the ‘crazy’ people of the city need to be dealt-with the hard way.
“We tried talking to people. Our teams go from one door to another to make people aware of the importance of sanitation and the ways by which it can be done. But, people here are crazy.We have to try the hard way. We filed 60 Challans in 2 months. We will have to continue doing so. We are left with no other option,” Sofi Akbar, the Chief Sanitation Officer of SMC told Free Press Kashmir.
The administration looks serious this time, but there is a flip side too.
The usual sight near the Police Control Room in the city is that of a congested lane, with a huge traffic mess and an open drain running on its side. However, the sight near the busy road has an addition pertaining to the Swatch Bharat Mission (SBM): a public convenience for men and women.
The irony is that one among the labourers was spotted peeing near the under-construction convenience! With around a hundred public conveniences constructed in the city, this toilet is among the few ones that are well placed, actually visible and thus, serve the purpose.
“I thought there were only 2 public conveniences in the city. One in Lal Chowk that has JK Bank’s banner and the other one near a Masjid in Maharaj Bazar. SMC has said that there are 98. Where are they!” asks Afreen, a local, adding that ‘people still do not ask around for public latrines comfortably. At least the toilet should be visible enough to the eye.’
300 Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) have been constructed by the SMC under the Swatch Bharat Mission. Construction of Community Type and Public Type Latrines (CTL/PTL) have been funded under the SBM and ‘SMC is constructing the CTLs and PTLs wherever possible.’
“We have been looking for spots because there definitely is a need for public conveniences. We will be constructing them where ever possible and as per the space available. One is being constructed near the PCR and more will be constructed in areas including Maharaj Gunj and Aali Kadal etc,” informed Akbar.
The thought about the toilets is a trigger to a chain of complaints one has with the SMC that believes ‘the city is in the surgical mode and will be like a heaven in coming two years.’
SMC admits to the chaos that has overtaken the city with creaky roads, open drains, dust, mud and lack of awareness about sanitation among the masses everywhere here. ‘3 out of 4 people are dying because of unsanitary habits, according to Akbar.
The challenge for SMC, however, are the masses who are not aware of the ways to keep the atmosphere clean. Batting for SMC, Akbar told Free Press Kashmir that they try to handle people with care but will have to put the strict mode on.
The violators will have to face the law as per Akbar who says that SMC is leaving no stone unturned to keep the spaces clean.
“Our workers are out there before 8 in the morning when people prefer staying in the bed. The flyover is being constructed, the roads are open and there is too much to be done. And we do it. You don’t know how it would be if we stop doing what we do,” Akbar stressed.
He also said that the corporation is successful in collecting 70 to 80 percent of the door-to-door waste collection. The segregation of the waste is something that locals need to do at their personal levels. They should, as per the officials, retain the waste at their own place and wait for the SMC Karamchari to come and pick it up. In case, SMC fails to do so, they appeal to the locals to call or come to them with the complaint.