Bandipora: The lack of sanitation workers in Bandipora Municipal Council in the north Kashmir district is destroying the town’s charm as the garbage mounds and scattered filth in addition to clogged drains give it a shabby look.
Shoppers and business people are worried about the lack of public bathrooms at markets and have urged authorities to improve the situation in the town.
The Bandipora town is divided into 17 wards and spans nine square kilometers; yet, while door-to-door household garbage collection makes things easier and, to some degree, restores the mess and prevents hazardous rubbish disposal, a slew of other concerns keep it messy. Furthermore, the toilets near the major marketplaces are also not being “operated.”
Many residents have been claiming that the Municipal Sanitation staff doesn’t show up for days together as the garbage mounds attract canines and stench. “They either show up once in a while or alternatively,” Ubair Lone, a resident said. The Municipal authorities said that this is due to the lack of staff and that the town area has grown far and wider than it was decades before when the council served under the Notified area.
“The town has expanded, there are numerous colonies and new structures coming up. Humanly it isn’t possible for the council to clean all the colonies or wards in one go or every day. So to follow the strategy we do it alternatively,” Bashart Hussain Najjar, the Council’s President said. The council has only 90 workers among whom 45 are still serving as daily wagers while 44 staff members work as permanent employees. Najjar said that the strength of workers, by and large, has remained the same while the town has expanded much in the area and “obviously population as well.”
Though the Council officials said they have 17 portable CTBT systems worth 14 Lakh each, which includes washroom, toilet and sink facilities put in place at important locations in the town, yet, the market goers are finding it difficult to locate a public convenience to attend a nature’s call while for the women folk, the experience is embarrassing.
“These systems are leased out for a 10-year contract and the contractor looks after the cleaning and upkeep,” Najjar informed. He said the 7 public conveniences were available in Bus stand, each near Nusoo and at the DC office, apart from Kaloosa, and near the handloom building around market.
Basharat said that the CTBT’s near busiest Gulshan Chowk near SBI bank and one more near auto stand needed repair and admitted that those were dysfunctional. “There is this lack of cooperation from the nearby residents and some undesirable elements who use them for illicit practices, we still have a private member looking after one near Handloom building.”
Najjar said that it is not possible to keep the town 100 percent clean with the present strength. “ The sweepers are less in the MCB.” The staff collects tons of garbage aided by two trucks, one each dumper and loader and 2 suckers to unblock choked drains and clean toilets. Moreover, the locals said there are scores of other vehicles gathering rust for the want of repairs.
“There were dust bins placed all over and we had to remove them as even the public claimed that it attracted foul smell, canines and also at times affected smooth flow of traffic. To aid this, door to door garbage collection hoppers were still in service and effective too, “but there are many who don’t opt for it,” Hussain explained. So the Council, he said, at certain places, was “forced to place those bins back like in Nussu and near HSS”.
With the Municipal council is grappling with garbage collection, the lack of staff has put an extra burden on them while the town is becoming messy with every passing day. The council said, “strengthening staff can only help in keeping the town clean.” More so, as per the officials, the Solid Waste Management Segregation plant is also coming up at Zalwaan to help with the scientific burial of the waste as fencing for the 30-kanal dumping area is being carried out.