Baramulla: The much-anticipated rural sanitation programme under the Swachh Bharat Mission in Baramulla district has encountered significant challenges as overflowing dustbins and scattered garbage persists across various areas, leaving locals frustrated and the environment at risk.
Initiated by the rural development department, the programme aimed to improve sanitation in rural areas by installing over 1500 dustbins in selected blocks of the district. However, due to the absence of an efficient waste disposal mechanism, these dustbins have remained overflowing for months, with garbage strewn all around.
In picturesque Drangbal village, an area on the outskirts of Baramulla town, the dustbins provided by the rural development department are overflowing, making life miserable for the residents. Similarly, in Delina village, garbage from the dustbins has become a daily inconvenience for the locals.
The problem extends beyond these areas and the issue of solid waste management has worsened significantly across the rural area.
Expressing their displeasure, residents questioned the rationale behind procuring dustbins when there was no mechanism in place for garbage collection. The Swachh Bharat mission had to collect a nominal amount from households, which is intended to be utilised for overall sanitation efforts in rural areas. However, most of the locals in the rural areas say that none of the Panchayat representatives collected any nominal amount from them which shows there is no such mechanism in place for the proper disposal of the waste.
“So far none has visited us to collect a nominal amount for the disposal of the waste,” said Muhammad Shaban of Drangbal Baramulla.
Additionally, the rural development department planned to construct segregation sheds with three compartments, one of which was meant for composting biodegradable waste for organic farming. However, only a few sheds have been built so far, without a proper waste collection or composting mechanism.
Abdul Majid from Drangbal highlighted the lack of garbage collection from the dustbins, stating that the overflowing garbage posed a potential threat to the rural environment and increased the risk of dog bites.
Acknowledging the challenges, an official from the rural development department admitted that the disposal of waste at dumping sites was an issue. The department is in the process of engaging local municipal councils or committees for safe waste disposal, but it will take time to implement.
Assistant Commissioner Development Baramulla, Shabir Ahmad Hakak, emphasised the importance of segregation sheds in educating rural residents about handling different types of waste.
He highlighted that many residents lacked knowledge about waste management and disposed both degradable and non-degradable waste in open spaces. Segregation sheds, according to him, could play a crucial role in segregating waste materials and producing compost for organic farming.