Srinagar’s sanitation may be outsourced


Srinagar : Shaken by the union urban development ministry rating Srinagar as “the fourth dirtiest city in the country”, the authorities here are considering outsourcing sanitation services in the city.

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The rating raised questions about the working of the Srinagar municipal corporation which is responsible for sanitation in this 1.2 million-strong summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, who also holds the urban development portfolio, told reporters here Wednesday evening: “It is a matter of concern, but we are in the process of making reforms.”

Nasir Sogami, the junior minister in charge of urban development, said: “It gives us bad publicity. The problem is that our work force is inadequate and for this the government has decided to engage additional 600 sweepers for maintaining sanitation in the city.”

“We may also go for outsourcing. A proposal for this is under serious consideration of the government,” he added.

The rating process was made part of the national urban sanitation policy announced by the central government in October 2008.

To sensitize the states and cities about the current state of sanitation, the ministry launched a national rating exercise in 2009 for class-1 cities of the country.

“For a city once famous as the ‘Venice of Asia’ such a rating is unfortunate. It is because of the unmindful planning, an outdated drainage system and unplanned expansion of the city that we have landed in such a mess,” said Muhammad Ashraf, 62, a retired urban development engineer here.