Srinagar: The Chunt Kul rivulet is struggling to survive because of garbage dumping and discharge of sewage into it.
Solid waste floats openly in the rivulet that takes in sewage generated from homes, hospitals and commercial establishments.
The rivulet that takes off from Ram Munshi Bagh and meanders through Barbarshah and Gaw Kadal has been reduced to a dumping site.
According to local residents, the dumping of garbage, and sewage from Chest Disease Hospital, hotels and different municipal pumping stations has caused serious pollution in the rivulet.
Farooq Ahmed, a houseboat owner, recalls that in his childhood, he and his friends would take a bath in the rivulet. But now, the stinky smell of its waters “makes one feel nauseating”.
“Once this area used to be abode of tourists, but now they don’t prefer to stay here. The water is polluted and it stinks,” he said.
Ahmed admitted that local residents also throw waste into it.
“Dustbins have been installed on the bund but people still throws garbage into the river,” he said.
Ahmed said that the authorities do “a bit of cleaning” but leave the weeds and accumulated garbage again on its banks.
According to a local shopkeeper, the drains from Chest Disease Hospital and municipal sewage pumps discharge into the rivulet, apart from the residents.
“From this area (Barbarshah to Gawkadal), all the mechanic shops dump their waste into the rivulet,” he said. “And this happened to be one of our life lines.”
Hundreds of houses and makeshift sheds standing on both sides of the rivulet also dump their waste into it.
A shopkeeper who has installed a temporary shed on the bank said that the government had promised to rehabilitate them at some other place.
“But years have passed and it seems government is not ready. Our boats need repairing and it will take us lakhs of rupees. What if we repair our boats and they come to rehabilitate us,” he asks.
Officials at Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) told Kashmir Reader that they have launched an initiative of clearing the Chunt Kul on war footing.
“On war footing basis, the waterway will be cleared. We have taken the initiative and it will be done,” they said.