Official neglect of the apple town is deliberate, say locals
SOPORE: The apple town of Sopore in north Kashmir is in utter shambles, thanks to perpetual official apathy and lack of civic sense. Problems like garbage disposal, land appropriation, lack of good medical care and traffic woes are among the issues facing the once-prosperous township.
Fifty kilometres up the highway from Srinagar city, a bend at Sangrama leads to Sopore. The town is not too far from Baramulla district headquarters and should have been equipped with all modern facilities due to its proximity. However, the locals say that they have been neglected systematically for their anti-establishment sentiment and refusal to be the vote bank. “Sopore town doesn’t exist on the governance map of the state,” an enraged resident said.
Notwithstanding the town boats to be a major business hub in north Kashmir, it has been thrust with administration that is completely clueless. Worse, the town is surrounded by security camps and a massive security presence round the clock.
The attributes of this scenic Sopore town are more than one. It is one of the most sought-after towns in the Kashmir for its centrality and proximity to Wullar Lake. But, its present status is because it is the native town of the veteran pro-freedom leader and Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Perhaps this attribute has transformed it from apple town to rebel town.
As there is so much talk about Swach Bharat campaign, the Sopore town continues to crumble under the garbage it produces. The authorities are failing for years to finalize a dumping site for the town’s garbage.
Amidst this administrative neglect, streets, markets, roads and riverbeds of Sopore are getting overwhelmed by the garbage, posing dangers to the environment, water and the health of residents.
Also, lack of public convenience in the whole town forces local populace to urinate in the open including womenfolk, which is so embarrassing.
Once called as Chota London for its prosperity, the town has literally become the garbage town and the small roads and illegal encroachment of footpaths further adds to the chaos.
The local hospitals have also reported rise in cases of dog bites, from the canines that feed and thrive on the garbage dumps.
The 200-bed facility sees a huge rush of patients from Sopore and adjoining areas like Bandipora, Rafiabad, Handwara, and Kupwara and even from far off Tangmarg. However, the dearth of basic facilities and the major part of the hospital still under construction after decades of work going at snail pace leaves the patients and attendants complaining.
Poor hygiene, leaking washrooms, lack of basic facilities, are the hallmarks of Sub-District Hospital (SDH) Sopore, which is seen as a leading hospital in north Kashmir.
Before a month, Municipal Executive officer of Sopore, Abdul Mateen told Kashmir Reader that the dumping site has been identified at Delina and the work will be executed in a few days. However, Kashmir Reader found that no site has been identified in that area.
Mateen was not available to comment.