A recent government figure justifies a post, published September 2006, whether Srinagar deserves being called a city at all (The post is reproduced below).
A survey has revealed that Srinagar is the 420th cleanest city in India (seeing the glass half full) among the 423 cities ranked. Whether there was some clever manipulation of the ranking to make sure it wasn’t ranked 419 or 421 – one can not tell. Coincidence or otherwise, 420 is an apt number for the rulers of Kashmir.
And why? The answer can only be guessed: the forever fear within the administration and rulers that they will eventually have to give up Kashmir. And that is good news.
And, as the government mulls outsourcing sanitation, one fails to understand what is this government capable of. Recently it had shown helplessness to construct parking lots and was therefore considering privatising prime locations of the city to Non-Kashmiri corporates, including Palladium Cinema. Public Private Partnership is another buzz word – and an idiots playground to jump into for a state torn by conflict.
And the post of September 2006:
Srinagar is often referred to as a city. It’s great injustice. Srinagar no longer deserves the title of “city.” It might have been one in the past, but now it qualifies at best to be called a slum and at worst a gutter. Do not fret. It only takes a couple of hours of rain to turn even the main city roads into dirty drains – or a gutter And the present state of the city – with haphazard constructions, non-existent sewerage system, absence of sewage treatment plants, roads covered with dust instead of asphalt, presence of rude and senseless policemen at every nook and corner, who have possibly lost the meaning of ‘decency’ somewhere in the abyss of time; idiotic, ill mannered bus and truck drivers – who value nothing more than money – are some features of our Srinagar that qualify it to be called a slum. Slums are never planned and so is the case with Srinagar as of now. Srinagar is a wonderful example of a city ruined by its inhabitants, policy makers, government and each and every person from the cobbler who sits at the road bend to the highest seat of power, the chief minister. The reason for the ruin is greed, a greed which sees no culture which sees no history, which attaches every iota of significance to materialism!
Hopes were tied to the Municipal elections, people who had thought that Srinagar might change for better were day dreaming. Nothing changes in Kashmir. The only difference that the Srinagar Municipality brought to Srinagar was the presence of our mayor at each important junction of the city with the slogan ‘keep your city clean,’ through hoardings. The mayor had gone so far as to put his picture on the hoardings. I see no benefit of such an devour, but if there is some spiritual or sixth sense logic in that, I am unaware of that. It would have done the residents of Srinagar more good if dustbins, an effective garbage collection, a recommended garbage disposal system, and improvement of the perks and benefits of the lower rung employees were undertaken. But, this is Kashmir. but even the photo advertising of the mayor seems to be a shot in the dark, as even though after passing through the hoarding hundreds of times, I will be unable to recognize his face in real person. But, possibly one of the hoardings opposite the Legislative Members Residential Colony (known as MLA Hostel) could be of some use. In case a securitygaurd doesn’t let him in, he could point towards the hoarding and prove his identity. The hoarding is a massive identity card, I would say.
Elsewhere, remembering Bazaz