January 7, 2021

Snow clearance in Srinagar will remain improbable till SMC is equipped with modern machines: Mayor Mattu

Says ‘Inherited civic mess from previous regimes”

Srinagar: Mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation Junaid Azim Matoo on Wesdnesday said that snow clearance in Srinagar city will remain improbable till SMC is equipped with modern snow clearance machines .
In an official statement issued on Wednesday evening Mayor Mattu said “within Srinagar, main roads and link roads – including highways – are to be cleared of snow by MED and R&B Departments. SMC is tasked with clearance of nearly 7,500 lanes and by-lanes. Unofficially the number of lanes is in excess of 15,000!”. He also said that effective snow-clearance in lanes and by-lanes will remain improbable till SMC is equipped with adequate and modern snow-clearing machines. “The tradition is to make-do with JCBs and loaders and spades and shovels – which aren’t meant for snow-clearance and are equipped for routine garbage collection operations”, he said.

Stating that SMC has less than 15 JCBs/loaders, Mayor said “Srinagar has at least 10,000 lanes that need snow clearance! The mathematics itself is improbable. For effective snow clearance one JCB/loader will have to clear around 700 lanes and by-lanes a day to complete the task within 24 hours”.
He further said “in a functional work day of 12 hours – that is one lane a minute. Factually it takes one machine 20 minutes to clear one lane”, adding that “ the mismatch between our requirement and available machines/manpower is astronomical”.
Mayor further said “around a year or more ago – the SMC F&P Committee had approved my proposal for the procurement of 25 4×4 snow-clearance machines with imported snow-blades and Road salting dispensers. Funds have been available since – so funds hasn’t been a problem”.

Stating that for some strange reason, the procurements weren’t made, the Mayor said “ on assuming office for my second term, I immediately sought a review of these crucial procurements but due to a shift from Bharat-5 to Bharat-6 emission grading, we couldn’t procure the machines this last month. I will ensure these crucial vehicles are procured – speedily, transparently”.

“Images of snow being cleared with spades, shovels and JCBs should be an embarrassment in the present day and age — not something to be celebrated. To me – it surely is an embarrassment”, said the Mayor, adding that “our field workers deserve dignity and respect and as such deserve modern equipment for mechanized snow clearance. We need to cut the red-tape to ensure speedy vital procurements and development”.

Saying that “ our grievance redressal mechanisms/equipments are either absent or outdated and we will endeavor to push for systemic reforms in SMC”, the Mayor said “SMC is unable to do a perfect job of clearing 7,500+ lanes with spades and two dozen garbage lifting loaders/JCBs – that needs to be accepted and admitted and only when we admit the systemic deficiencies can we improve”.

Claiming to have inherited an SMC with nothing beyond brooms & handcarts – thanks to the neglect heaped upon SMC by successive governments in the past – including those who controlled SMC, the Mayor said “We scaled up, upgraded our machines during COVID and I assure you we will continue to do so now. We will continue to go above and beyond”.

Stating that he will ensure all codal formalities for the procurement of the required equipment and machines are initiated transparently and without delay – failing which he will publicly and honestly name those officials who are responsible for delays, the Mayor said “with lack of machines and inadequate manpower – I express my gratitude to all SMC field staff for putting in their 100% since the past two days and night. I have been out on the field with our field staff and have witnessed their hard-work and dedication. They deserve to be fully equipped and that is something I will pursue with my heart and soul”.
“To fellow Srinagarites – as your Mayor, I assure you a modern, better equipped and more effective urban local government in the form of SMC. We have initiated this goal and we will see it through”, the statement issued by Mayor reads.

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