Official says ‘working really hard to make it happen’, but sources say even land not identified
Anantnag: There has been no headway in the construction of a Solid Waste Management Project (SWMP) more than a year after the project was mentioned in the “vision document” for Pulwama district.
Thousands of tonnes of waste continue to be dumped at eco-fragile open sites, including the foothills of the Vastoorvan forest range in the area, posing a threat to the environment as well as the local population.
The construction of this SWMP found a mention in the Vision Document 2020 to 2022 for Pulwama district and was prepared by the Urban Development Department.
The document mentions that the facility would be constructed at a cost of 5 Crore Rupees and within a time span of 15 to 18 months. “25 Kanals of land were to be identified and allocated to the project in Awantipora area,” a source in the district administration told Kashmir Reader.
The document further reveals that a single cell of around 10 Kanals would have a capacity of disposing of 5.8 tonnes of waste per day, generated from 14,647 souls in main town Awantipora and the Victor Force army facility, one of the largest army establishments in south Kashmir.
“There has been no headway thus far. I don’t think even the land has been identified for the project yet,” the source in the district administration told Kashmir Reader.
The locals in Awantipora told Kashmir Reader that the garbage remains dumped amid localities for days before it is lifted and dumped around the fragile foothills of the Vastoorvan mountain range.
“Thousands of tonnes of waste are also generated from Victor Force and even garbage from Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar is brought and dumped here in Awantipora,” the locals said.
They added that they have been time and again assured by the authorities that an SWMP will be constructed and it will put an end to their woes. “But we have now been waiting for years and no steps towards addressing this pressing issue have been taken thus far,” the locals rue.
Kashmir Reader talked to Mathoora Masoom, Director Urban Local Bodies, who said that an action plan has been formulated and waste management facilities will come up under that.
“There is a Rs 191-crore action plan for construction of such facilities at around 20 locations in Kashmir valley,” Masoom told Kashmir Reader. “In Ganderbal, the work has started on one such project.”
She said that a Project Management Unit, consisting of experts on solid waste management, has been formulated and the whole action plan is being handled by these people.
“Besides, we have purchased vehicles worth Rs 35 crore for waste management and we believe that in the shortest period of time we will have a robust solid waste management system in place,” Masoom told Kashmir Reader.
“We are working really hard to make this happen,” she added.