ANANTNAG: The untreated sewage produced from Amarnath Yatra base camp at Nunwan, Pahalgam, is not only becoming a source of inconvenience for the people but is also threatening the famous water body Lidder, according to local residents.
Several locals who spoke to Kashmir Reader complained that poor sanitation at the base camp is giving tough times not only to them but also to the people visiting Pahalgam.
“The (Shri Amarnath) Shrine Board (SASB) and the state government officials deputed to look after the sanitation don’t bother to treat the sewage produced from the camp area. The pungent smell emanating from the sewage is unbearable. One cannot afford to pass by the area without covering the nose,” said Mushtaq Pahalgami, a local social activist.
The untreated sewage produced from the area finally empties into the Lidder, he said. “There should have been a proper sanitation keeping in view the fragile environs of the area, but the Shrine Board authorities seem to be least bothered about the environment. We are not against the Yatra, we respect the religious sentiments of the Yatris, but the pilgrimage should not go at the cost of nature,” Pahalgami said.
Another local, Abdul Majid said the stink of the sewage may tell upon the health of the local population if steps for the proper sanitation of the area were not taken immediately. “The contractors having been allotted sanitation contract seldom use chemicals for treating the sewage,” Majid said.
The camp director, SASB, did not respond to repeated calls from Kashmir Reader. However, the sanitation officer deputed for Yatra duty expressed helplessness in getting the sewage treated properly and scientifically.
“I have written to all the concerned quarters including Raj Bhawan, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and Deputy Commissioner Anantnag about the poor sanitation in the camp area, but my concerns seem to have been ignored,” Mohammad Ayub, the sanitation officer, said.
He said that after raising his voice against the poor sanitation he was accused of trying to hand over the affairs of Yatra to the state government.