Water logged colonies, mud filled potholes: Where is SMC, ask locals

Srinagar: Working at a snail’s pace with no long term strategy to clear the messed up drainage system in the valley, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) workers are facing the wrath of locals after bad weather added to their miseries.

Due to heavy snowfall in the valley, not only did the valley remain cut off from the outside world, but the residents here are irked by the lack of arrangements to tackle the conditions arising due to bad weather.

The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan told Free Press Kashmir that he is personally visiting areas and getting snow cleared.

“I am already out. We cleared many places. The thing is that it was continuously raining. Even after we cleared the snow, it again covered the area,” he said. However, after one day of no perspiration, although snow has been cleared in many places, water logging still remains an issue.

According to the locals, the roads leading to hospitals, religious places and government offices were still not cleared till Friday afternoon. Moreover, locals say that they are stuck in their houses due to water logging in their colonies, and cannot reach the main roads for purchasing their daily bread without getting drenched till the knees in ice cold water.

“The drainage system is faulty here. They never address the issue when the weather is dry. They come up with motors to take out the water once it inundates. Five minutes of heavy rain and we run to get our long boots,” says Gulam Mohammad, a resident of Sheikh Dawood Colony, Batmaloo.

“The SMC hasn’t been able to maintain the place properly. The polythenes can be seen clogging the open drains here. The wastage is on roads and when it rains, it floats,” he says adding, “How would you feel you had to walk with human excreta on your feet? We go through that every day!”

Speaking about the issue, the Ward Officer of the colony told Free Press Kashmir that it indeed is a sad situation.

“Till the time the actual drainage problem is addressed, nothing is really going to help,” he says.

According to the locals, the SMC officials bring in the motors to take out the excess water. However, that too does not help. “There is only movement is water. It never really goes down. It is done just to shut mouths,” says another resident from the colony.

Same is the plight of residents of Hyderia Colony, Khomeini Chowk, Bemina. The residents of the colony say that despite their protests from time to time, no help has come from the authorities.

The road near the Police Control Room, Srinagar; areas surrounding under construction Jehangir Chowk-Rambagh Flyover and even the heart of the city Lalchowk are not fit for commutation as of now. The drains are clogged, and with water on roads, filling potholes and broken tarmac, the uneven surface of the roads does not allow proper drainage leaving pedestrian no where to go.

“Where does one walk? the footpaths are encroached, or still covered in snow and mud, the road is full of potholes filled with water. When the cars pass by the water is splashed all over our clothes,” says a pedestrian walking towards Amira Kadal.

“When the weather is fine, they don’t address the drainage issues. Then they click pictures working like heroes on a bad weather day,” says a local from Bemina adding, “We understand it is difficult to work in cold here. They are humans too but they have taken up this job. Where are the commitments they make?”

While the winter preparations are for everyone to see, with the onset of spring and rains, the dredging of the rivers has taken a backseat. It may only take another crisis for the authorities to appear to be working on the issue.

Meanwhile, flight operations have resumed causing a huge traffic jam on the airport road. With many flights cancelling in the past few days, people who have to fly on an emergency bases lined up outside the airport, causing a queue of over 3 kilometres.

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