Lidder river embankment turns into garbage dumping site

Executive Officer MC Bijbehara admits threat to water body

By: Ahmad Shabir

Bijbehara: The heaps of garbage being dumped by the Municipal Committee Bijbehara (MCB) on the banks of water body near Kar Kadal remain the first impression of tourists, visiting the famed tourist destination Pahalgam, through famous Apple Valley road.

The garbage dumping not only pose a threat to the water body but the stink from the garbage also agonies the people, travelling on the busy road on regular basis.

MCB authorities on daily basis collect tons of solid waste from the lanes and by-lanes of Bijbehara, the largest town in district Anantnag. The garbage was earlier dumped on the left side of the road. However, after the site got filled completely, the local body meant for the development and cleanliness of the town, starting dumping garbage on the bank of the water body.

Though many environmentalists had raised objection over garbage dumping near the spot, saying it would prove to be disastrous for the water body, but the MCB without giving any damn to these concerns continued to dump the garbage.

The huge mounds of garbage stinking badly now remains the first impression of tourists visiting Pahalgam via the Apple Valley road, locally known as Chinni Wedder.

A local, who runs a stall near the spot selling fruits and other eatables said that the not a single tourist cab stops near his stall only for the reason the these garbage mounds keep on stinking through all the time.

“Since travellers have to cover their noses at a distance of half-a-km from the spot on both sides, how can i expect tourist cabs to stop here,” he said.

A local activist from Bijbehara, Adil Rashid said that it is more than agony to pass through the spot even in four-wheelers or on two wheelers.

“MCB authorities even don’t bother to spray some chemical on the heaps of garbage so that the stink is reduced to some extent,” Adil told Precious Kashmir.

Despite the tourist witnessing the huge tourist rush, he said, the authorities don’t bother to shift the garbage dumping site or at least treat it scientifically so that it does not create bad impression among the tourists.

The water body is a tributary of famous Lidder river and joins river Jehlum.

Another local activist, Javed Shah said that in case of rains this garbage stinks upto the sky and slips into the water body thus polluting it badly.

“The garbage dumping near the spot is not only posing threat to the water body but finally pollutes river Jehlum which is already dying due to encroachments and pollution,” Shah said.

Executive Officer, MCB, Suhail Ahmad admitted that the garbage dumping near the spot, is a threat to water body but added that since he joined eight months ago, he has been only focussing on its solution.

“After I joined I looked everywhere around Bijbehara for some alternative where garbage could be dumped but I didn’t find any site. Now, the least I can do is the construction of boundary wall around the garbage site so that the pollution to the water is prevented. I have already dispatched a proposal for that to R and B authorities but I am yet to receive the estimate for the same,” EO said.

He said out of meager budget of 10 to 15 lakh rupees, he can only build a boundary wall around the site.

“For that we need to remove the garbage at least from water body side but when we try to remove the same that stinks so badly that people living nearby come and object to its removal. Now we are thinking of spraying some chemical on it before its removal so that stink does not inconvenience local residents,” EO said.

He said that the best solution to the problem is the construction of the Solid Waste Management plant, which is under process not only for this but for all the municipalities.

“SWMP is expected in next one and half year but till then we have to find some solution so that the water body is not threatened,” the officer said.

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