Delay in funds keeps Srinagar out of top 100 list
On October 2, the ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhyan (SBA) launched across India completed its one year but Srinagar continues to be out of the list of top 100 clean cities.
Top official sources revealed the reason lies in delay in releasing funds. They said central government released funds only on last day of September—two days before its maiden anniversary. Only one-fifth of the toilets promised have so far been built, way behind the target and the larger problem is of making them operational.
The department of Housing and Urban development has been released Rs 14 crore and the department of rural sanitation has been released 84 crore under SBA.
Joint Director, HUDD, Parvaiz Sajad Kakroo said they received 30, 000 applications from BPL families for construction of individual household latrines (IHHL) and out of them 6,000 have been verified. “We will provide applicants Rs 4000 per construction,” said Kakroo.
The SBA involves three components: IHHL, community toilets and Solid & Liquid Waste Management.
Official sources revealed there has been no construction of community toilets. This component was places by government in those areas where there was no space available in individual houses and target was atleast 20 percent.
“We have hired 4 consultants. Currently we are preparing DPR for solid & liquid waste management. In this component, we use cluster approach combing nearly 6 towns,” said Kakroo.
Director Rural Sanitation, Kashmir, Showkat Ahmad Beigh said: “Out of 2 lakh individual latrine target, we have completed 51, 000 for BPL families.”
The target for community toilets was 276 and out of that 62 are said to have been completed.
“We have completed designing project for solid & liquid waste management and now waiting for approval only,” said Beigh.
The total budget for the department under this SBA is 319 crores.
Top official sources revealed out of 84 crores that have been released to the department, 54 were released only on ending September.
Poor civic sense among the residents and slow implementation of the campaign by the government failed to produce the desired results.
It is estimated that the Srinagar city of 12 lakh population alone generate 380 metric tonnes of solid waste daily, which is dumped at Achan—waste-filling site—generating strong odour due to no proper scientific treatment.
Recently this thing had forced Asian Development Bank (ADB) to put on hold Rs 19 crore for development of third landfill site at Achan since they need a written commitment from Srinagar Muncipal Corporation SMC assuring that garbage segregation on scientific lines will be done at collection points; something that is currently impossible for SMC since they do not have trained personnel to collect and segregate garbage at source.
As per research paper ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management in Srinagar City’ by International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology published in July 2015, the major components of household waste in Srinagar include biodegradable, plastics, paper, solids, glass, sanitary, medical, and inert material.
A survey conducted by Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, for the year 2014-15, reveals that cities in JK were performing poorly under the centrally sponsored scheme. Srinagar has been ranked 152nd, whereas Jammu found a place in the bottom of the list with ranking 427. Sanitation in Jammu & Kashmir is among the worst in India, with more than 54% of more than 1.2 million households without toilets and the 2014-15 target for household latrines falling short by 86%, according to government data. J&K, a state of 12.5 million people, did not use about 96% of the money granted by Delhi for the sanitation programme for 2014-15, using Rs 4.66 crore of Rs 121.52 crore.
According to the baseline survey 2012 of the Union Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, J&K ranks on number three.
Heaps of garbage, potholes in roads, stagnant water and blocked drains tell the tale of indifferent attitude of the authorities and residents who dump the waste on roads without giving any consideration to the cleanliness of the city. The shortage of garbage bins and manpower to lift the solid waste and lack of urban planning have also made the campaign a non-starter.
It is important to mention here that the Central Government notified the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules 2000 under Sections 3, 6 and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 for the purpose of managing municipal and urban waste in an environmentally sound manner. As per it, every municipal authority is responsible to develop a system for scientific disposal of garbage through proper segregation, composting and engineered landfill.
According to data from the state’s Unified District Information System for Education survey 2014-15, in J&K, 6,351 schools lack toilets for girls and 8,098 lack toilets for boys. More than 71 per cent of schools have no basins or taps to wash hands near toilets and urinals.
The state constructed 42,239 individual household latrines during 2014-2015 against the annual target of 0.3 million, a shortfall of 86 per cent. The government was to construct toilets in 1,264 schools last year, but it did so no more than 87. Only 17 of 300 anganwadi centers (creches) saw construction of toilets.
“We as citizens criticise the system, but there is no involvement of people in the campaign. The shortage of safai karamcharies and garbage bins is another issue. There is no awareness among the masses and no effort has been made to involve citizens,” said Tawsi Jan, a political science student at KU.
A senior Municipal Corporation official said the Swachh Bharat Abhyan would only be successful when the whole lot of urban infrastructure would be functional. “It is not only about picking up garbage and dumping it in water bodies or open fields, Srinagar is still without a proper landfill and sewerage treatment plant,” said a senior official in the Urban Development Department.
Till the year 2014, the city was having an area of just 417 sq km and in November 2014 the government approved the city limits to 757 sq km. The city is divided into 68 wards. The wards are being managed by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), while major projects are being looked after the Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) and Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA).
Recently the SMC had launched a major drive to clean the city, but its success will depend on the attitude of the people. But whatever the reasons, the solid waste scattered across the city is creating a major health hazard for the residents.
However, Municipal Commissioner, Showkat Ahmad Zargar said they were making efforts to have greater participation of people. “We have to reach out to masses so that we are able to pinpoint the problems. We will ensure prompt action in all the issues citizens are facing,” Zargar said. “We have focused more on solid waste management in last one year. We are working on many projects like drainage.”
The five objectives of the Mission aims to: 1) Eliminate open defecation by constructing toilets for households, communities 2) Eradicate manual scavenging 3) Introduce modern and scientific municipal solid waste management practices 4) Enable private sector participation in the sanitation sector 5) Change people’s attitudes to sanitation and create awareness.
This campaign aims to accomplish the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by 2 October 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. It is expected to cost over Rs 62000 crore.