Few hours of rain water-logging the ‘Smart City’ shows that SMC has no concrete plans

Srinagar: The much awaited rains after many hot days of summer would have been a pleasant experience, however, for Kashmiris, it has been a cause of many civic issues.

Due to lack of arrangements and proper maintenance of the drainage/sewage pipes, rains nowadays create havoc for people living in various areas of the Srinagar city.

While the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been on the go since morning, it seems like no long term goals pertaining to the ‘smart city project’ have been met.

A typical example of the SMC’s failures like frequent water logging in various areas of the city including: Residency Road, M.A Road, Boulevard Road, Lalchowk, Hari Singh High Street and adjacent areas, like Batmaloo’s Sheikh Dawood (S.D) colony.

With his formal pants folded up to his knees, shoes in a polythene bag, a resident of S. D Colony, Batmaloo was taking his 6-year-old to school today morning, wearing Nylon bathroom slippers.

“You can see the open sewage here. As soon as it rains, the water overflows through these drains, covers the roads and even enters our homes,” said Asif, while holding the hand of his son, who also was wearing slippers instead of school shoes.

“I have put mine as well his shoes in the polythene. There is no other way out for us. Sometimes, he misses his school because of the rains,” he said.

After September 2014, the colony was the last to be touched by the authorities. While Public Health Engineering Department had dug up the roads, the Department of Road &Buildings took over two years to repair them. In October 2017, the roads were finally restored. However, the drainage, sewage and sanitation issues were not addressed at all, leading to inconvenience during rains.

Pertinently, Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has not installed enough dustbins in the area, forcing locals to throw wastage on roads. It often ends up in the open drains, resulting in their clogging. The sewage and drainage can nowhere be differentiated in the colony.

This reporter has time and again approached SMC officials regarding the issues of the colony, the residents of which sometimes also get sewage water in their drinking water tanks, causing them to suffer from infections.

Often times, photographs of the waste on roads were sent to them, however, no action has been taken so far.

“Where is the colony located? It’s not possible. Send us the photographs. Its people’s fault,” the officials have told this reporter.

“If they have to start from somewhere, this should be the place. Its okay when its all dry but rains really show how efficient the government departments are. We spent our life in this colony and nothing changed,” says a local shopkeeper Nazir Ahmad.

Like Batmaloo, many areas including Jawahar Nagar, Bemina and Area near Police Control Room get inundated in water even after a mild rainfall. Every time it rains, the SMC clears the roads. However, no long term measures have been taken to tackle with the issue.

“We have been working since morning. By God’s grace, the rains have stopped for now. SMC Commissioner is also on roads wearing long boots. We have drained out the water from various areas in Srinagar city,” said Sofi Akbar, Chief Sanitation Officer SMC.

Asked what are the long term projects SMC has taken to meet the ‘Smart City’ goal, he said, “Smart City is completely different. We have long term goals so rains don’t hamper the regular work in Srinagar. By November, we will be done with it. Hopefully, after that, no problem like water logging will occur.”

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