With the project of making it as pleasing to the eye as possible, Lal-Chowk is flourishing. Paved with the paths meant for the joggers and walkers, Lal-Chowk is flourishing. Rainwater that once accumulated around the city finds itself unable to do its previous mischievous deeds, and that said, Lal-Chowk is indeed progressing. It deserves our appreciation, standing ovation, and profound gratitude.
However, is there something we must attend to? A grave, grave issue warranting our attention?
Obsolete and inefficient drainage channels, ending up allowing the rainwater to creep into the homes of a few should it rain, characterize most of the places of Downtown Srinagar. Come to even a drizzle, and we find our home submerged in water a foot deep. The drainage stands so compacted that the rainwater, accompanied by the human waste rushing through it, gets pushed into the home premises. An awful situation. As sickening as the feeling of wanting to throw up.
Shift your focus, and another issue crops up. Even after you raise an issue, offline or online, you get little acknowledgement from the person you report the trouble to. I will try to illustrate this: some months ago, as it was raining cats and dogs, we found the rainwater dancing around our home, crashing back and forth, besides creeping into our kitchen. Drifted off, I woke up abruptly. And after seeing the condition of our water-laden kitchen, I dashed off a complaint. It was 4 a.m. Where everyone else was enjoying their dreams, I suffered from the worst nightmare I hope to ever experience.
After constant reminders, a person belonging to the upper rung of the SMC played saviour by assuring me with the I-am-here kind of empty rhetoric. Months have elapsed, and the issue stands unresolved. What does it reflect?
With a relatively poor drainage system and the minimum government intervention in matters concerning poor folks, civilizations never leap ahead as far as the progression is concerned. It’s not that we will make a small part of Srinagar city as appealing and aesthetic as possible that shall define the efficient working nature of the authorities, but taking into account everything that the people suffer from – be it the drainage system or puddle of water in the middle of the road of other areas – shall exhibit the efficient and appropriate policies of the Government.
Closing thought: In a Western country if someone raises an issue, the authorities take not more than a few minutes to address it. How efficient their working dynamics stand, and how ours is a case flipped upside down.
Fizaan Bashir Srinagar