New Delhi : Kashmir Valley may be called paradise on earth, but its capital Srinagar has the ignominious distinction of being the fourth dirtiest city in India, according to sanitation ratings by the urban development ministry.
The picturesque city of lakes, gardens and hills, founded by King Pravarasena II around 10 BC, has scored a mere 17.17 on a scale of 100 in the National Rating and Award Scheme for Sanitation for Indian Cities by the union ministry.
At 420, Srinagar is just ahead of Pilibhit and Lakhimpur in Uttar Pradesh and Churu in Rajasthan. Chandigarh has been adjudged the best city in terms of quality sanitation.
Shocked by the rating, Ikhlaq Qadri, a management student from Srinagar, blamed the government for not doing enough to clean the city that lies on the banks of the Dal Lake with a stunning backdrop of Zabarwan hills towards the east.
“The people who govern us have to own the responsibility,” Qadri wrote on social networking site Facebook.
“Why blame the government only,” replied Mukhtar Lone to the debate. “It is a collective responsibility. Srinagar belongs to all of us. It is a failure not only on part of the civic authorities but all of us.”
The alarming sanitation rating comes a year after Jammu and Kashmir’s Pollution Control Board (PCB) warned that houseboats, a major attraction for tourists, were polluting the lakes.
The PCB said raw sewage from the boats was being directly discharged into the water. The report also pulled up hotels that don’t have properly-working sewage treatment units.
There is a widespread concern in the Kashmir Valley that the famed Dal Lake is fast dying due to pollution.
The rating of cities with regard to their performance in sanitation improvements was based on a set of objective indicators of outputs, processes and outcomes. The award is based on the premise that improved public health and environmental standards are the two outcomes that cities must seek to ensure for urban citizens.
Improved sanitation can ensure improved public health and environmental outcomes, only if considerable changes in behaviour and practice take place across the spectrum of the society.