We offered support, were told to wait: Commissioner
The Pune Municipal Corporation’s offer to the J&K government to help sanitize the flood-ravaged Srinagar was cold-shouldered by the state authorities, forcing the visiting team to return disappointed.
Sources said a team of engineers from the PMC led by its head of the Water Supply Department VK Kulkarni had flown to Srinagar to help the Srinagar Municipality Corporation (SMC) restore basic sanitation facilities in the flood-hit city and provide support for clearing tones of garbage lying on the roads and streets.
The waste management system was badly hit due to the floods that hit the city on September 7, resulting in accumulation of garbage. The unhygienic situation sparked fears of outbreak of an epidemic.
A government survey this week said at least 95000 houses were damaged in the city alone of which 61000 have collapsed completely. “The idea was to aid local administration to ensure basic amenities are made available to the flood victims,” sources said. They said for some days, the team “tried” to reach out to the state authorities including those in the SMC for chalking out a plan to reinstate drinking water facilities and ensure proper disposal of waste. “But the response was not encouraging,” they said. “The team had offered to assist in sanitation work and fixing of drainage system. It was an opportunity for the two bodies to come close and take the relation forward particularly when the sanitation system had collapsed in Srinagar.”
Commissioner Pune Municipal Corporation Kunal Kumar told Greater Kashmir that he had sent the team of engineers to Srinagar to assist the SMC in cleaning up the city.
Under a pact signed between the PMC and SMC in 2008, the two bodies had agreed to share technology, technical expertise and guidance to help each other in providing better service to people.
“I insisted on providing the support. I send the team on my own. But the Commissioner SMC told me on the phone that he will let me know if any help will be required,” said Kumar. “I couldn’t do anything then.”
Sources said though the visiting team had a detailed discussion with district authorities and other officials concerned, there was no outcome.
SMC Commissioner GN Qasba said they have so far cleared 17000 tons of garbage from Srinagar.
Asked why the PMC team left Srinagar, Qasba claimed: “They had come for photo ops.”