Srinagar: The financial position of the government is so bad that a few fountains constructed to “beautify the city” are being operated on rare occasions because the Srinagar Municipal Corporation cannot afford the electricity bill.
The fountains, designed by Valley’s reputed artist Masood Hussain, were built in Rainawari, Khanyar and Fateh Kadal areas of the old city and at Syed Mansoor Sahab, Karan Nagar and Munwarabad in 2009.
Mohammad Sultan, who runs a shop at Khanyar, said, “The last time we saw it working was last summer. Even before that it ran erratically. You can say it worked fine only during the initial months of its construction.”
“It has become a spot where MLA or other visiting dignitaries pose for photos,” said Ali Mohammad, a resident of Rainawari, while pointing to the dry fountain.
The three fountains were built at the cost of Rs 75 lakh by the previous government as a sort of homage to the old city, which it said “represents the heritage of this historic city”.
“Initially, the SMC employees would be stationed at the fountains round the clock. Gradually, the enthusiasm waned and this fountain would be operated only during the visit of VIPs,” said Abdul Hameed, who lives close to the fountain at Fateh Kadal.
SMC Joint Commissioner Abdul Majeed said the fountains are not defunct.
“The problem is that we are not able to pay huge electricity charges. We pay about Rs 6 to 12 lakh to the power department annually.”
“Last year’s flood,” he added, “also played a spoilsport by damaging electric motors of the fountains. We have restored the TRC fountain and the rest too will be restored soon.”