ANANTNAG: With many public toilets at Pahalgam resort defunct and Municipal Committee Pahalgam (MCP) failing to renovate them, tourists as well as people associated with the industry face severe inconvenience.
There are around thirteen public toilet blocks at Pahalgam and its peripheries, supposed to be maintained by municipal committee Pahalgam. But locals say many of them have been either in a dilapidated state or completely dysfunctional for the last one year, at least.
“Some of them are so damaged that they have been closed for last several months. A couple of other toilet blocks, which the municipal authorities claim are functional, are too unhygienic and dilapidated for use,” a local, Javed Ahmad told Kashmir Reader.
Locals are questioned the municipal committee Pahalgam’s role and its officials’ seriousness in maintaining the famed tourist destination.
“Besides the tourists thronging Pahalgam throughout the year, the condition of the toilets is causing inconvenience to taxi drivers, pony-wallas, and other stakeholders,” Mushtaq Pahalgami, a local social activist, said.
“How can you expect this place to be clean when the public toilet facilities are either completely defunct or not worth using?” he questioned.
The municipal committee, Pahalgami said, outsources toll post at Nunwan for over Rs 1 crore rupees every year and also generates lakhs of rupees as sanitation fee from the hotels, guest-houses, restaurants, and shopkeepers.
“Yet, the toilets at this environmentally-fragile location are left unattended. One wonders why?” Pahalgami said.
“Despite being the main nodal agency for the development and maintenance of Pahalgam resort, Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) is also not doing anything to make these public toilets functional.”
Ironically, PDA hasn’t constructed urinals at picturesque spots, such as Baisaran, that see high tourist footfall, he said.
Secretary MCP, Nazir Ahmad Lone, admitted that many toilet blocks were defunct, citing shortage of funds as the reason.
“The committee has not been provided any funds since it was abolished last year. The MCP is right now functioning separately under a court order,” he said.
“Yet we have written to PDA authorities for their renovation, and, hopefully, the work on them will be started very soon,” the secretary said.
Chief executive officer (CEO), Riyaz Ahmad Wani, said he has written to director local bodies for the release of funds.
“Some public toilets are defunct for which we have sent a proposal to the local bodies’ authorities. Once the funds come, we will renovate some of them on modern lines. A few of them have, however, lost the utility; they will be dismantled,” the CEO said.
He, however, said the toilets inside the public parks were functional.