Who will save Srinagar?
While the rains in planes and snowfall in upper reaches of Kashmir have brought back the chill in the air, the downpour in Srinagar city has put a big question mark on the much hyped claims of making this capital city a Smart one. On the eve of Shab-e-Meraj, several of the Srinagar areas were groping in darkness as the electricity was snapped around 8 PM and was restored only around 2 AM – a continuous break of five hours. The break was unannounced and the insensitivity of the concerned authorities can be gauged by the very fact that no explanation was provided to the masses who suffered due to this power blockade. The authorities, it seems, have no idea how democracies function. In democracies, people are the paramount and all the officers and officials are public servants. They are being paid to serve the public and if, due to any reason, they fail to do so, they owe an explanation to the same public. But here it is totally reverse of this universal reality. Here the government officers and officials prefer to describe themselves as government servants and instead of public try to appease only their immediate bosses in the hierarchy. They are much concerned about their APRs than serving the public and are in a constant process of lying to their superiors about the ground realities.
Take, for instance, the pathetic drainage system in Srinagar city. As it rained for almost three days, most of the Srinagar areas are almost flooded. In absence of a proper drainage and sewerage mechanism in place, the water is flowing on the roads, streets and in the lawns of the populace. Srinagar Municipality, which is supposed to take care of such issues, seems somewhere resting in deep slumber and people here are suffering and suffering badly. Knowing the reality and fragility of the city’s drainage and sewage system, the municipal authorities should have kept the water pumps ready in abundance to deal with the water logging but that was not done. Some such pumps have been put into service in some important places with the sole aim of publicising the same on social media platforms thus rubbing salt into the wounds of commoners whose lawns and lanes have turned into lakes of dirty water.
Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha has repeatedly been asking the officers of different agencies of his administration to ensure people-centric and people-friendly administration. However, it is sad that on ground, the situation is telling a different story. How the officers are working here can be understood by one simple example – ahead of winters last year, Lt Governor chaired a high level meeting of his officers to review the winter preparedness of the administration. He was informed by the officers that all the concerned agencies where fully prepared to tackle the weather vagaries. However, when Kashmir witness the main snowfall in December, the agencies failed to deliver and as snow accumulated on Srinagar streets, they came up with an excuse that there were no sufficient snow clearance machines available. Question is, why the same was not disclosed in the review meeting? That is the question that the Lt Governor needs to ask the officers – about winters as well as about what happened during past three days.