Short of men and machinery, SMC struggles to keep Srinagar clean

SRINAGAR: Facing an acute shortage of men and machinery, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is struggling to keep the capital city, with a population of 1.3 million, tidy. Officials admit that with around 40% staff deficit, it is a Herculean task to collect and dispose the solid waste from the lanes and by-lanes of the expansive city.
According to records, SMC workmen have to collect garbage from thousands of houses and clean up 174 running kilometres of arterial roads and 860 kilometres of lanes and by-lanes. “As against the requirement of 4,500 workers, the SMC presently has 2,108 safai-karamcharis of which 1,765 are on a regular basis while 343 are working on a consolidated basis,” Chief Sanitation Officer SMC, Manzoor Ahmad Taray told Kashmir Reader. “Moreover, 400 rag pickers (mostly non-locals) are also registered with SMC,” he said.
Sources said that only 60% of about 500 metric tonnes of solid waste generated in the city on a daily basis is lifted from Srinagar city and dumped at Achan earth fill site. For the collection of city waste from each and every corner of Srinagar, spread over an area of 279 square kilometres, an old, unscientific and inadequate garbage transportation fleet is used to collect solid waste. The garbage is first heaped at 575 Temporary Collection Points.
Officials said that the SMC faces a shortage of 380 refuse collector bins in the city.
“The city municipal corporation needs at least double the garbage collecting equipment it currently possesses and it should get more funding so that it is able to collect all the waste from the city in the future,” Taray added. Taray said that lifting of garbage on a daily basis requires greater frequency. “This can be done when there is more staff and equipment at our disposal,” he said.
Informed sources said that the Housing and Urban Development Department has been requested to release the funds in order to improve the Solid Waste System and purchase modern garbage-handling machinery and liquid waste handling equipment, but the proposal is moving at a sluggish pace.
At present, the Economic Reconstruction Agency is providing a number of garbage and liquid collection vehicles with funding from the Asian Development Bank.