Baramulla : As the water of Jehlum flows through the main town Baramulla, it carries the filth, littering and waste out thrown by the people into it. A shopkeeper, Mohamamd Slaeem is witnessing such scenes every day since last five years form his shop on the banks of the river.
This ugly scene of witnessing the polluting water basin perturbs him but has no courage to face the people responsible for it. He curses on people for not understanding the value of this river which supplies drinking water to the thousands of families in town and across the valley before it flows into the neighboring country Pakistan.
“I am here for five years, on daily basis witnessing it. I see shopkeepers throwing garbage into the river especially in the evening hours after they accumulate it on their shops during the day,” he says.
Jhelum River is the major source of water for the whole Baramulla town, but due to lack of garbage disposal mechanism, this river has literary turned the garbage dump for the people from so many years.
“I am here for 20 years selling chickens. The practice of throwing wastes in Jhelum is a routine for us as we have no other way to deal with the garbage accumulating at our shops in the day,” Mohammad Shafi, a chicken seller of Tashkant Chowk market said.
The Jhelum River, which passes through three major districts of Kashmir province –Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla, is locally named as Veth. It covers a distance of about 180 kilometers and ultimately enters Pakistan side of Kashmir, where it is famously known as `Kashur Darya’.
In all these districts, the waters of this river are used for the irrigation, drinking purposes and in the agriculture sector serves a backbone. As the Kashmir is heading for major water crisis, this river offers a hope to defuse it.
Another shopkeeper who is stationed in the market since 2015 said that the whole community has used the same way of disposing off the garbage since the Municipal committee failed to set up the dustbins for the conveyance of shopkeepers in the market.
“I am here for two years in this market, in absence of any dustbin or garbage disposal treatment the whole community of shopkeepers are disposing of garbage and waste materials in the Jhelum” Waseem a local shopkeeper said.
Meanwhile, they alleged that they MCB is totally ‘defunct’. As they had earlier requested many times to authorities regarding the installation of dustbins in the market, but they turned deaf ear towards their pleas.
“The MCB is totally defunct in the area as we requested many times before them about the installation of dustbins in the market where we could through the wastes and garbage. But they never bothered to pay any heed to our pleas. Helplessly we had been forced to move to Jhelum to dispose off the garbage,” said a group of traders from Tashkant Chowk market of Baramulla.
When contacted with Executive Officer of municipal council Baramulla, he said due to default in the machines they faced problems in lifting the garbage of the town.
“I have recently joined the MCB, on daily bases at 8 am I monitor the market. Due to some repairing works in Refuse Compactor Vehicles (RCV), the garbage could not be cleaned. However, the littering is cleaned on daily basis,” The Executive Officer, Firdous Ahmad, told The Legitimate.
He said very soon they will start a campaign of cleanness drive in the town. Within half a month we will ensure all lanes and bylanes are cleaned,” the executive officer of MCB said.
Meanwhile, the populace relying on the river for drinking water purposes are cautioned of contracting water borne diseases.
“Polluted water is main cause of infection, which leads to water born diseases. The people who drink it have chances of contracting jaundice, Diarrhea, aortic fever and one type of hepatitis, Dr Basheer Ahmad Chalkoo advised.
He cautioned people to avoid using unfiltered waters for drinking especially from the river.