Syed Junaid Hashmi
JAMMU, May 22: In complete contrast to claims of the government, Jammu and Kashmir has capacity to treat just 18 percent of the total sewage produced.
The remaining 82 percent goes into the water bodies, polluting them excessively. According to the details available with Jammu Kashmir Newspoint, state produces 350 million litres of sewerage every day but has capacity to treat just 64 million litres of sewerage from this huge production, which is 18 percent of the total production. Despite availability of Sewerage Treatment Plants, state has failed to address the issue of sewage treatment.
Initially the creation of infrastructure for sewerage treatment was restored to only two capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu but with launch of Swachh Bharat Mission the coverage has been widened and smaller towns are being now provided with solid treatment plants so that no hazardous liquid waste remains untreated yet the sewage continues to be big problem.
Srinagar and Jammu city generates about 400 MTs of solid waste each and corresponding intrinsic economic value of the waste, state has prepared detailed project reports for an amount of Rs.91 .00 crore for Srinagar city and Rs. 60.00 Crore for Jammu city to drive economic value from Municipal Solid Waste. With the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014; J&K also committed itself to the mission with the objective of achieving the complete cleanliness by 2019.
J&K has two capital cities Srinagar and Jammu and 78 Statutory towns (6 Municipal Councils and 72 Municipal Committees) having urban population ranging from 10000 to one lakh. Urban population constitutes 27.38 percent of the total population of the state. With the launching of Swachh Bharat Mission, J&K committing itself to mission launched various cleanliness drives. .
Swachh Bharat Mission has four components which include household toilets wherein incentive is given for each toilet constructed, community toilets, public toilets and solid waste management. As per the census 2011, there are 20.15 lakh households of which 10.31 lakh households are having latrines within premises which constitutes 50 percent of toilets.
In urban areas out of 5.17 lakh households, only 4.52 lakh households have latrines within the premises and rest are using public latrines or defecating in open. State government has already started the process for the identification of the prospective beneficiaries who can be brought under the ambit of Swachh Bharat Mission by way of providing incentive for construction of sanitary latrines within the premises. Incentive being quite meagre, state has already taken up the issue with Union Ministry for enhancement of incentive.
Spaces for construction of Community toilets are being identified so that such facility is provided for the households who cannot build household within the premises due to shortage of space. Given the fact that Jammu and Kashmir is important tourist destination both for national and international tourists, therefore the cleanliness is not only important from the sanitation point of view but it will have positive impact with regard to attraction of tourists.
Union Ministry has directed for formulation of City Sanitation Plans, so that the planned approach is made to address the sanitation problem and achieve complete cleanness by the targeted date. For the Management of Municipal Waste, Municipal Solid Waste Rules 2000 are in force in J&K. Though the collection and disposal of solid waste in the State of J&K has been going on for quite long time but the need and importance of scientific disposal of municipal solid waste has been lately felt and the State has embarked upto the path of creating infrastructure for scientific management of solid waste in all urban centers within the 5 year period, for which a cluster approach has been adopted.
As of now the State is successfully running 4 Solid Waste Management Projects which include landfill site in capital city of Srinagar and 3 compost plants in 3 smaller towns. For remaining towns and other tourist destinations project formulation has been started and have been forwarded to the government of India under Swachh Bharat Mission.