For Bapu’s Sake

On Gandhi Jayanti, when the Prime Minister launched his much-hyped Clean Bharat Abhiyan, the Jammu and Kashmir government issued advertisements in selected newspapers, pledging to keep the state clean and offering advice on ensuring cleanliness in residential areas and their surroundings.

After the flood-wrought destruction in Kashmir, heaps of garbage are seen everywhere, especially in the state’s summer capital. Municipal authorities and workers are doing a commendable job in a round-the-clock clearing operation, and the Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police (JKAP) too has gone into action to lift rubble, silt and dirt piled up in post-flood Srinagar.

Needless to say, the government has to be vigilant against epidemics. It has been reliably learnt that, for unknown reasons, authorities at New Delhi and Srinagar have not allowed material needed for fumigation to be airlifted from Delhi and elsewhere. It has also been learnt that some such material airlifted in bulk was supplied to security camps alone. The Clean Bharat Abhiyan launched by the Prime Minister, and the advertisements issued by the state government on the birth anniversary of the Father of Indian Nation become meaningless when authorities use different yardsticks in Kashmir. Flood-ravaged Kashmir needs prompt fumigation. If airlifting material is a problem, it can be sent by road transport. Fumigation is an essential part of the post-flood clean-up process. Further, municipalities in outlying towns need support, as with their existing strength and manpower, they will take months together to lift the garbage left by floods.

An official spokesman has said that the government hired 1000 tipper-trucks to help municipal authorities clean the city and Kashmir’s towns. Given the scale of the task, this would appear to be insufficient. Cleaning the Valley is necessary for psychological reasons as well. According to experts, people will stay haunted as long as the garbage stays on roads as a reminder of the floods. The quicker the sigs of devastation are removed, the more confident and hopeful people will feel. Clearing up operations have to be speeded up, and for Bapu’s sake, no double standards.