By Ishfaq Reshi
Beerwah: The central Kashmir’s Beerwah town is lacking toilet facilities despite hoopla about the cleanliness drive initiated by the state and central governments. The residents say that the situation did not change despite former chief minister Omar Abdullah won his assembly seat from the area who had promised visible development in the area.
Interestingly, the municipal committee office lacks toilet facility and the employees are often seen urinating against walls of their own office building.
The absence of public toilet is more troublesome for womenfolk and girl students. The residents blame the government of showing apathetic attitude towards the area for political reasons. They say that the local population supported the recent public uprising and that was one of the reasons for depriving them of development.
Waqar Younis, an engineering student said that public toilets symbolize societal development. “Our officials are not even aware of a grave problem like lack of toilet facilities,” Younis said.
“There is no functional public lavatory block in the town. If there is one, it is useless. When the government is spending huge amounts on other things, can’t they build a toilet under Swatch Bharat Abhiyan,” he said.
He said the existing toilets have been rendered useless for the lack of timely repairs and upkeep. Some of them are now damaged beyond repairs.
Rifat Ara, a student of Beerwah Secondary School travels 15 kilometers every day to reach her school. She said that she faces extreme difficulty if she requires public convenience. “Being a woman it is difficult to knock at the doors of people to request for using their private toilet,” she said.
“We have a woman Chief Minister who can understand this problem more than anyone else. But unfortunately she too has forgotten this important issue,” Ara said.
Executive officer municipal committee, Shabir Ahmad conceded there was no public toilet in the town. He said the existing toilets were not renovated or repaired due to lack of adequate funds.
He said the committee has a plan to construct four public toilets in the town.
The locals said that the town has been left unattended administratively. “On the record, Beerwah has been designated as sub-division but leave alone sub-divisional magistrate, the area does not have a permanent Tehsildar,” a resident said.