Stink, garbage choke Shopian residents

About six months after municipal elections were held in Kashmir, the elected local bodies have often ignored their civic responsibility.

Meemneder locality in southern Kashmir’s Shopian district is a case in point. 

Heaps of garbage littered around Meemneder cause anxiety and inconvenience to the local residents.

They complain that rancid odor emanating from the rubbish pervades the whole locality, making it difficult for them to stay inside their homes with windows open.

“The stink is so strong that it easily makes us nauseous,” said Mohammad Iqbal Naik, a resident.

Municipal Committee Shopian, according to Naik, has not even installed a garbage bin in the area, forcing people to dump waste on sidewalks in the locality.

“Dozens of times we approached the municipal officials in this regard but to no avail,” Naik added.

Many residents said that they had never seen the chairman or any councillor of the Municipal Committee in the district ever since local body polls were held in 2018.

Interestingly, for the 17 member Municipal Committee of Shopian 11 councillors, all Kashmiri Pandit migrants, who filed their nominations were elected uncontested and Subash Chander Koul was nominated as the chairman.

According to officials, while Koul showed up at Committee’s office barely a few times, none of the councillors have ever visited their wards.

Ghulam Mohidin Wani, another resident said that the streets littered with food leftovers invite stray dogs which pose a serious threat to the lives of women and school going children.

Wani said that the garbage has also choked the drains and irrigation streams in the area.

“It has now started taking a toll on our nearby orchards. Due to the frequent blockage of streams, we are sometimes unable to irrigate our farms properly,” Wani said.

“The streams carry all the dirt into their orchards.”

Shrugging off his responsibility, Executive Officer Municipal Committee Shopian, Imtiyaz Ahmad told Greater Kashmir that cleaning the streets of garbage was the responsibility of those people who litter it.

“It is not the problem of one particularly area,” Ahmad said.

When asked why the committee failed to provide garbage bins, he hung the phone up and later did not answer calls from this reporter.