Srinagar, May 10: The Anderwani road in Naid Kadal locality area of Downtown Srinagar has become a source of misery for the locals and shopkeepers in the area. Despite being a crucial connector, the road remains damaged with no macadamisation in sight.
A big oval-shaped pothole at the entrance of the Anderwari road leads to a more worn-down surface with manholes rising almost 8-inches above the ground. A narrow trail of battered road continues with raised manholes appearing intermittently.
Fragments of bricks, rocks and other material left over from excavating have been used to fill the sewage channels at some places, defacing the already defaced area.
More than the residents, the shopkeepers along the route are facing the brunt of inadequate construction of the drainage, who say the dust billows from the dilapidated road during sunny days, while the failed drainage causes waterlogging during the rainy season.
“Difficulties over difficulties, 10-minute rains drench the whole area,” remarks Zahoor Ahmad Bhat as he stirs the tea boiling in the pot.
The tea-stall owner feels that the business for the shopkeepers along the road is history now. “I don’t understand why administration has been unable to construct a working drainage even as they have failed to repair the road during a period of one-year,” noted Mr Bhat.
According to Ghulam Rasool, a resident who also runs a shop in the area, the majority of people don’t commute through the road now; instead they prefer the long route via the Khanyar police station. This, Mr Rasool says has had a negative impact on their businesses.
As one makes his way towards the Daribal road, the condition of the route remains the same, but the victims change. Here, the locals are massive sufferers, the suffering is the same: Dust during sun, waterlogging during rains.
Half-a-dozen men sitting on a shop’s facade stand at once; they point at the sewage channel and yell out their miseries one by one and collectively.
A woman witnessing the scene from the window of her home’s first floor, shouts “We didn’t need this, Naaeli aasi beyhtar (Traditional sewage channels were better.”)
Since the drainage was installed, rats have infested the locality and keep entering the house premises often, residents claimed.
The area is now inundated with water during rains and the only positive thing about the situation, locals say, “is the water doesn’t enter the residential structures anymore.” “On the streets, it accumulates over a foot,” they say.
There were no site-engineers or site-managers when the work was going on, “only a couple of labourers, that’s it,” Shabir Ahmad, a local asserts confidently.
Around 100-metres from Naidkadal is Malarath road near the crowded Bohri Kadal square.
The two-kilometre link road is one of the busiest routes in this part of the old city. However, it shares the same fate as Anderwari and Daribal.
Javaid-ur-Rehman is seen sprinkling water over the road surface outside his poultry shop. He doesn’t keep the chicken out in the cage anymore.
However, Mr Rehman’s chicken shop isn’t alone in bearing the brunt of authorities’ failure to construct a proper drainage system and repairing the road afterwards, but Shakeel’s blanket business, Ahmad’s cloth shop, Peerzada’s provisional store and around a dozen fabric-sellers are also the victims.
Like Mr Rehman, Mr Shakeel and Mr Ahmad also don’t keep their articles out in the display now. “Vehicles splash muddy water all over articles and smear them,” Shakeel says with a frown on his face and a towel in his hand.
Couple of metres ahead of Shakeel’s shop and opposite the masjid is Abdul Qadir’s home along the road, Qadir is furious about the impact and the quality of the work.
“Several main water-pipes have been left leaking under the ground, which often causes water to seep out to the surface while it has affected the water supply to our homes massively,” says Mr Qadir.
Passing of Tippers and SUVs outside shakes Mr Qadir and his family sitting inside their home, he says. He points to the unlinked, half-murky, and dirty sewage channel and asks, “How is this smart?”
Turning his finger to the blocked road on the opposite side, he laments how the sewage adjacent to a Masjid is haphazardly filled with bricks and stones.
Athar Aamir, Commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), responsible for constructing drainage systems in the city said, “I don’t have much information about it, adding we have brought the Malarath area under the ‘Smart city programme’”.