From cozy offices,SMC top brass takes to streets

Dr Qasba does Gandhigiri in City centre, intensifies Anti-Polythene drive


Srinagar, Nov 22: The next time someone argues with you over use of polythene, do give a second thought, if you want to resist his “uncalled for intervention”. Reasons: You may end up in trouble and could even be fined while the polythene bag or bags you were carrying could be snatched because the man at the other end could be senior official of the rank of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner.
In a typical Bollywood style operation, the SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba Thursday afternoon pretending to be Aam Aadmi appeared in the busy City centre without any apparent security to assess the ground results of his directions to staffers for making “Srinagar polythene free”.
Pretending to be a shopper, Dr Qasba started his “sting operation” from historic Lal Chowk where apart from some shops he went to Raidawalas, to check if they sell the commodities in the banned lot.
It all started when the official humbly walked towards a street vendor selling fruit and asked for half a Kg of apples. But the old man couldn’t be caught on the wrong foot as he was selling the commodity in paper bags. 
Now it was turn of some more vendors in the area. But none near Lal Chowk could be found using polythene. The SMC official walked ahead alone while some of his staffers followed the boss at a distance. Sources said the surprise inspection in the City was done on the instructions of the Chief Secretary Madhav Lal who is understood to have told the SMC head to ensure that Srinagar goes polythene free.
But as the Commissioner reached Amira Kadal bridge scene started to change.  Some street vendors could be seen selling vegetables and other lot in polythene bags. Dr Qasba at once rushed to one such Raidawala selling tomatoes. The official instantly snatched the polythene bags while his staffers, who were following him, zeroed to the spot. But the very next moment, the SMC top official was in a different tone, polite to address people like a teacher.
“Please don’t use polythene bags. Awaken your conscious to realise that it’s spoiling our City and is equally unlawful. Polythene doesn’t decay but strangulates earth and waterbodies,” he said. The brief counselling had instant takers. A group of women shoppers at once dropped their polythene bags asking the vendor to give cloth bags instead. But the vendor had a plea: “You will have to pay Rs 5 additional.” “But why?” questioned the SMC Commissioner adding “Sellers are bound to provide bags free.”   Dr Qasba, however added that people should develop a habit of taking along a cloth bag when out for shopping. Meanwhile bystanders became curious to see what was happening and their number swelled around the official.
Seeing the crowds growing alert, at Amira Kadal bridge the Commissioner got into a vehicle hoping to visit some other markets. But a traffic jam on the bridge, a routine scene on the route, often ignored by bureaucrats, prompted him to get down and continue with the inspection on foot.
By now some traders in adjacent Hari Singh High Street had smelt the market inspection and were busy hiding the banned lot. But Dr Qasba caught some such sellers red-handed.
The fining and counselling continued in adjoining Maharaja Bazar area as well. In other areas, on the other hand, his colleagues including Joint Commissioner Fayaz Ahmed Bala and others went for inspection. SMC Chief Sanitation Officer, Manzoor Ahmed Turray flanked by Anti Polythene Officer Mir Mansoor said around 1500 Kgs of polythene were recovered from the City during the day.
As for the SMC Commissioner, a walk down the congested Amira Kadal route where mini buses drive at “snail’s pace” and Traffic police does little, had some other revelations as well.
“There are many footpath vendors in this area. We need to launch a drive to get rid of these encroachments,” he candidly admitted as his vehicle   remained stranded for sometime in congested Maharaja Bazar.
Thereafter he visited some more spots pretending to be Aam Aadmi again and again. But an old man selling fruits had a question for this shopper: “If I am not wrong you are Qasba Sahib?” The Commissioner responded with a smile and left the spot to continue intensify his Anti-Polythene campaign and uphold his recently coined civic body slogan: Clean Srinagar, Green Srinagar!

Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 22 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 23 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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