Tral: “The stench is overpowering. One can hardly stand here for a few minutes,” says Zahid Ahmad of south Kashmir’s Tral town while pointing towards Atta Kul, once a gurgling stream flowing through the town.
The stream, which begins from Dilnag Park and meanders through the town, has completely dried up and turned into a dumping space.
The indiscriminate encroachments along the banks of stream have also shrunk the width of stream and reduced it to a drain.
“A few decades ago children would take a dip in the stream, but now it is full of muck and has become a small drain,” Ahmad said.
He said the acrid odour emanating from the garbage dumped in the stream pervades through the entire area, spurring the pedestrians to hold their noses.
“Even the people residing along the stream could not sit comfortably inside their houses as the foul smell enters their rooms,” Ahmad said.
Locals said that the wastewater from the abattoirs located upstream of the Atta Kul also goes into it, making it more stinky.
“We brought the issue to the notice of the concerned authorities umpteen times but to no avail,” they said.
The residents said that there was an immediate need of cleaning the stream.
“The stream could add to the beauty of the town,” they said.
Executive Officer of Municipal Committee (MC), Tral, Muhammad Iqbal Bhat told Greater Kashmir that Rs 5 lakh had already been sanctioned for de-silting and minor repairs of Atta Kul.
He said that the work had already been tendered out and would be executed soon.
“We will also launch a cleanliness drive of the stream in a day a two,” Bhat said. He also appealed to the people to develop a civic sense to keep their surroundings clean.