Stinking garbage mounds welcome tourists onto ‘famed’ Apple Road

BIJBEHARA: Authorities might be spending crores of rupees on widening and beautification of Bijbehara-Langanbal road that tourists know as Apple Road, but it is the stinking mounds of garbage that actually greet the visitors here, besides endangering the nearby water bodies.
The road passes through ‘chini wuder’ , one of the largest apple-producing Karewas in this part of south Kashmir. And it has earned its name from the apple trees present on both sides of its major portion. Most Pahalgam-bound tourists take the Apple Road.
However, tons of stinking garbage dumped by the municipal committee concerned near Ker Kadal, Bijbehara, the starting point of the road, creates the first impression on the tourists.
The stink is so bad that the travellers need to cover their face almost half-a-kilometer away.
“Ironical that heaps of garbage welcome tourists on this road, which is being developed and maintained by the authorities related to tourism,” a cab driver, Bilal Ahmad, said.
Besides giving a bad impression to the tourists, the garbage dumping is playing havoc with Ker—the stream that flows alongside the road. It is also causing inconvenience to the students studying in the degree college located nearby.
“When it drizzles, the garbage not only gets washed away into the water body but also stinks so badly that no student in the college can afford to keep his or her mouth uncovered. One wonders about the municipal officials’ wisdom of dumping the garbage near the spot,” said a student of the college, Mohammad Umar.
Executive officer at MC Bijbehara, Wali Mohammad, admitted that the garbage dumping near the spot was displeasing the tourists and polluting the stream.
“This is creating a bad impression among the tourists, and the water body nearby is also getting polluted. We are ourselves worried about it, but we don’t have any alternative,” he told Kashmir Reader. He, however, said that they have identified a site at Bijbehara Karewa that they intend to develop on scientific lines for garbage dumping. “But the completion of the project will take at least two years,” he said.