SRINAGAR: Almost 360 kilometers of concertina razor wire has been used by police in Kashmir since 2014, all of which is still serviceable and needs no disposal, an RTI has revealed.
Spools of concertina wire in crumbled, unserviceable condition can be seen piled on Kashmir streets almost everywhere. They have become a concern for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, which has been asking for their removal from several law-enforcing agencies, including the police.
The government’s reply to the Right-to-Information (RTI) query on them has said that these coils were introduced to replace the traditional barbed wire that was in use earlier. Having a length of 15 meters, these coils are mostly used to secure installations during law-and-order problems, the reply says.
Purchased for an amount of Rs 2.5 crore since 2014, a significant length of 150 kilometers was purchased in the year 2016, during the massive street protests that broke out after Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani’s killing.
About the disposal of this wire, the reply says that most of it remains fixed on peripheral walls of sensitive locations and is not required to be retrieved.
“While the coils deployed for law and order duties are retrieved at the closure of police deployment, and deposited back in respective stores,” the reply says, and adds that so far no coils have been found damaged or so unserviceable as to be disposed of.
The reply said that in case these coils are found damaged or become unserviceable, the nominated survey committee, after adopting proper procedures, forwards such cases to Police Headquarters for their disposal.
The reply mentioned that no such case has been received from subordinate units and no auction for the disposal of the coils has been carried out so far.
Officials in the Srinagar Municipal Corporation said that the piled-up concertina wire had become a problem for them.
Chief Sanitation Officer Sofi Muhammad Akbar said that concertina wires in crumbled condition lie piled at several places and they have to be removed to ease the traffic flow.
“The unserviceable coils affect even the sanitation of the surroundings. Our staff have to ask the troops to remove these to allow sweeping,” he said.
Faisal Ahmad, a local, said that police are unwisely using too much of this wire. Recently, when the Hajis left for the pilgrimage from the Hajj House in Bemina, there was so much wire placed to block the entry of people that many Hajis got entangled in it.
The authorities could use plastic barricades, but they seem to prefer a more permanent tool than a use-and-throw one.