Heaps of dirt and garbage have accumulated in lanes and alleys of Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir as the municipal officials refuse to pay heed to the situation.
The locals say, “Dust, dirt and rubbish is lying scattered in major parts of the towns, including tourist spots. The municipal authorities in Pulwama have not installed dustbins or identified a place for the garbage to be collected. As a result of which garbage heaps can be seen at a lot of places.
“The scattered garbage is raising stink and is proving to be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. A serious health scare looms in this area due to the spread of deadly infections and diseases.
The locals alleged that in Pulwama district there are very few dustbins and out of which many of them are broken. This has resulted in heaps of waste being seen scattered at many places. Residents resent this indifferent attitude of the civic authorities of not doing enough to address the problem.
The solid waste, including plastic bags, polythene and kitchen waste, is being thrown on the streets and into the drains causing blockage. A local resident said, “It is difficult for us to walk due to the foul smell from the garbage dumps. Living at places surrounded with filth increases health risk.”
Locals said that the residents were forced to dump kitchen waste in the open areas, sometimes in front of their and others houses due to non-availability of municipality dustbin.
A group of locals said despite repeated public outcry, the civic authorities have failed to address the problem. Irked locals said the garbage piles have increased the population of stray animals like dogs. Children and elderly, particularly, are afraid to go for a walk due to the stray animals.
Similar is the situation of tourist spot Shikargah Tral. Recently Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, said that the state government is developing Shikargah picnic spot in Tral to boost tourism. However, the locals say the civic authorities have failed to put up dustbins at Shikargah. Thus, heaps of polythenes can be seen in the park and its adjacent areas.
Senior officials of the municipality, however, assured that the dustbins would be installed wherever needed. They also said that two dustbins would be given to every household.
The situation is not any different in Shopian as well. Residents of the district said that people usually throw away garbage near the local mosque. The heaps of garbage are haven to stray dogs, who have made the life of people miserable. During the holy month of Ramadan, people face difficulties in going to the mosques.
A local resident Majid Manzoor said, “We are not able to go to the mosque, especially during Ramadan. We request the municipal committee of Shopian to install a dustbin with a lid in the area so that we can pass through the area without any fear of the stray dogs.”
Many other residents too expressed their concern of foul smell from the garbage, scare of stray animals and the health scare.
Some locals also said that waste bins were installed but as they were not covered with lids, stray dogs turned them over and littered the places instead. Similar complaints were lodged by ladies from Bonbazar. They said the sweepers do not come to their area to clean the streets and garbage was scattered all around.
An official of the municipal committee Asadullah Kumar said that the committee would assess the requirement of dustbins in the town and install new waste bins wherever necessary. “We will also repair the dustbins damaged during 2016 agitation,” Kumar said.