SMC’s Public Convenience at Boulevard Turns Into Liquor Den

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Div Com Assures Action by Today Evening

SRINAGAR: Notwithstanding the lofty claims made by none other than the Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to beautify Srinagar in order to make it more attractive for tourists, the public convenience right at the beginning of the tourist hub of Boulevard turns into a liquor den by the fall of each night.

Hundreds of empty liquor bottles can be seen scattered all around the floor of newly built toilet facility situated at Boulevard, Dalgate. The walls with beautiful blue tiles indicate that a lot of money must have gone into the construction of the facility. Why has the Municipal Corporation abandoned the facility that could have earned some respect for it, is a million dollar question?

Every night scores of locals and non-locals carrying liquor bottles slip quietly into the facility to escape the gaze of passersby and inhabitants. “Look at the dilapidated condition of this place the government must have spent at least 1 million rupees on,” Nazir Ahmad, President Boulevard Business Association, Dalgate, points towards hundreds of empty liquor bottles scattered on the tiled floor. “We brought the matter into the notice of the former SMC Commissioner, Ghulam Nabi Qasba but he lent a deaf ear to our plea.”

Kashmir Art dealer, Mohammad Rafiq Shalla said the SMC convenience used to be manned by two SMC employees, a male and a female. “Ever since the September, 2014 floods came, the two SMC employees have disappeared like deer into the woods.”

“God know what other immoral activities are going on at the place,” asks Mr Nadeem of G.H. Handicrafts not ruling out prostitution. “We have seen men and women walk out of the place in the dead of the night.”

Another shopkeeper said that a slight rise in the temperature sends nauseating stench right into out shops: “Forget tourists, we aren’t able to stand in our shops,” he said. “What ‘Heaven on Earth’ is the government talking about? This heaven bloody stinks.”

A delegation of shop-owners who visited Kashmir Observer office with the plea strongly resented the immoral activities going on at the place. “If the government does not act promptly, we’ll begin a massive agitation until the area returns to its magnificence,” they warned.

When Kashmir Observer contacted the Muncipal Commissioner, Tufail Ahmad Matto, he said: “I’m suffering from food poisoning and my aching stomach betrays me from commenting anything on the matter right now.”

When this reporter enquired whether he should be available for the comment at his office tomorrow, the Commissioner said: “I shall be able to comment on this only when food poisoning has left me.”

 The newly appointed Divisional Commissioner, Dr Asgar Hussain Samoon however assured an immediate action “I’ll call the relevant officers by tomorrow ( Tuesday) and seek a detailed report about the place,” he said promising redressal of the grievance of the traders and inhabitants.

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