SRINAGAR: Despite generous funding from the Government of India (GoI), the Swacch Bharat Mission scheme for cleaning up local surroundings has been unable to achieve ground-breaking results in the Kashmir Valley. For its three-and-half-years of operation in the Valley, with Kashmiri employees as executers, only 20 percent of the state’s sanitation has improved – an example of how ineffective government work is responsible for its poor performance.
Take, for instance, the performance on the construction of individual household latrines which are lacking in about 59 percent of households in the Valley. As per the data, the government has spent only some few lakhs of rupees out of a budget it allocated in crores. The Mission’s worst performance was in 2016 when only about Rs 2 lakh were spent out of the Rs 2.13 crore allocated for it.
The Valley’s perennial problem of mishandling solid waste management has also not gained any effective boost. The Kashmir-based officers have been able to spend only around two crores out of Rs 14 crore, as per the data. The spending could have done much to improve the Valley’s waste disposal situation, in which garbage is routinely dumped at public places. Summer capital Srinagar has to spend crores annually on waste disposal only because the garbage is not treatment scientifically.
On the information education communication that was meant for spreading public awareness of handling dirt scientifically, only about half the money was utilised.
Tufail Matto, the former director of Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir, who was looking after the project for a long time, told Kashmir Reader that the non-utilisation of funds was because there were no takers for the solid waste management tenders issued by the department. Had there been any successful tendering, the work could have been done, he said.
“Regarding the construction of toilets, the work is going on slowly but gradually,” he added.