After exhibiting dismal performance in the Swachh Bharat Mission, with mere 40 percent of the ground covered, the J&K government is building public toilets in Srinagar.
The funds for the SBM lapsed on March 31 this year, which was also the deadline for the project aimed to make the state open defecation-free. However, there was mere 40 percent of the ground covered by the government.
Now, a week after the deadline ended, the government has come out of its shell to show people it is serious about sanitisation and public toilet system.
On Saturday, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation came out with full public glare in the centre of the summer capital Srinagar to inaugurate public toilets. Such was the glare created by the SMC that it appeared as if the corporation is doing some favour to the masses by building public toilets in the city.
“SMC should have done this years ago, but doing it now doesn’t mean it will get absolved for its past negligence. The corporation is doing it out of the peoples’ taxes and it cannot claim the undue credit for building public toilets,” says Saqib Khan, a Srinagar-based businessman.
Meanwhile, what has raised several eyebrows is that even as the SBW was going on in full swing across the country, why was the government in general and the SMC in particular silent? What happened to the crores of rupees that were meant for the SBM in Jammu and Kashmir, and why after the deadline ends that the government has come out to save its face and escape from the public wrath?
The official records are revealing that against the approved 37000 Individual House Hold Toilets, (IHHTs) to be constructed in Jammu and Kashmir, there are around 16 thousand toilets yet to be built.
The records reveal that the government had earlier set the target of constructing atleast 2078 public toilets across the state. However, so far there were only 1271 public toilets constructed in the entire state.
It was informed further that as far as the Solid Waste Management (SWM) is concerned, 19 clusters have been formed for the scientific disposal of solid waste, covering all the 78 urban towns and capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar.
However, out of the 19 clusters, DPRs haver been tendered to mere 10 and nine have been left unattended. The land for these clusters for the SWM is yet to be transferred to the Urban Local Bodies so the purpose and there is no follow up action being done in this regard.
Furthermore, the irony is this that the SWM projects haven’t yet been started and the names are merely on papers in the government files.