SRINAGAR: Twenty employees of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) were injured and an equal number of trucks damaged in 18 days of violent protests by Achan residents against the open air garbage dumping in the area.
Standoff between the residents and the SMC administration continued for the 18th day on Tuesday even as trucks carrying garbage moved to the dumping site amid heavy security.
Achan residents took to the streets and indulged in violent protests when SMC started open air dumping of the solid-waste on March 4. Although the SMC stopped the open dumping, locals continued with the agitation targeting SMC employees particularly drivers and trucks.
About two dozen employees have been injured so far. People of the area are demanding closure of the site while as SMC has blamed ‘hooligans’ and ‘land mafia’ for attacks on its staff.
Chief Sanitation Officer, SMC, Manzoor Ahmad confirmed to Kashmir Reader that 20 employees have received injuries while as 20 trucks too have been damaged by the protestors.
For the first ten days of agitation, no garbage truck was allowed to move towards the dumping site by the protesting locals. The halt resulted in accumulation of garbage on the city streets. SMC resumed the garbage collection only when district administration deployed armed forces to pave way for the truckers to ferry the waste.
SMC yard master Nisar Ahmad Khan said that the SMC trucks ferry garbage only when proper security is provided. “Otherwise the waste remains unattended on the roads,” he said. “We cannot risk our lives. We prefer to carry waste to Achan only when there is security available. We start our work when we get a green signal from police,” he said.
As the issue remains unresolved, most parts of the city remained littered with garbage. As of now, SMC is able to collect and carry only 40-60 truckloads of garbage everyday against the normal flow of 140 trucks.
“During normal days, our work starts at 9.00 in the morning. But these days our work starts in the afternoon because we go to the Achan only when the security is in place. On Tuesday, we started garbage dumping at 2.00 pm. Although our trucks were ready but the work began only when we got a green signal from officers. On Friday and Sunday, no truck could move to Achan because the security is not provided on these days,” Khan added.