January 9, 2021

Snow Clearance Row: SMC Mayor’s shameless surrender

The second time Mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Junaid Azim Mattu  crying over the shortage of snow clearance machines only after the second heaviest snowfall blocked lanes, by lanes and even main roads across Srinagar City is only an endorsement of the allegations that Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) was not well prepared and well equipped to face any eventuality in the wake of a heavy snowfall. Mayor Mattu’s remark that the snowing was not unexpected but it’s intensity was unexpected has very rightly evoked more criticism and condemnation than expected as heavy snowfalls are expected any time after the commencement of the 40 day long harshest season of winter locally called “Chilla-i-Kalan” till the end of February when last 10 day period of “baby cold” locally called “Chill-e-bache” ends. Snowfalls are sometimes witnessed even at the fag end of March and as such all the government departments and other government agencies tasked the job of snow clearance have to be in a state of preparedness from mid December till end March. So by all standards of understandabilities the Mayor’s indefensible defence over SMC’s failure in snow clearance operations is unacceptable. Such a remark from Srinagar Mayor is tantamount to a shameless surrender before the challenges thrown by the snowfall witnessed almost ten days after the commencement of the harshest season of winter locally called “Chilla-i-Kalan”.  Blaming R&B and MED departments for the failure by talking about the areas of jurisdictions in snow clearance operations is obviously an attempt of the Mayor to take lame excuses for shamelessly surrendering in a crisis situation as the concerned departments and government agencies have to work in coordination but not in isolation when it comes to fighting any natural disaster . The memories of the wonderful job done by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in mitigating the sufferings of people during 2014 devastating floods are still fresh in the minds of the Srinagarites. If failure in snow clearance work is attributed to shortage of snow cutters and blowers by Mayor SMC, then who is to be blamed for the water logging across Srinagar.

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Citing administrative and financial technicalities for the unprecedented delay in the procurement of snow cutters and blowers is just a lame excuse and an attempt of the SMC Mayor to evade queries from critics and people in opposition. The time has come for the SMC Mayor to learn lessons from the lapses which show administrative and institutional inefficiency and incompetence of Srinagar Municipal Corporation under the leadership of  Junaid Azim Mattu for the second time in last three years.  

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Instead of counting kilometers of SMC’s jurisdiction in case of snow clearance, the Mayor SMC should also count the manholes that have virtially become death traps for the want of manhole covers.  Even if SMC Mayor’s contention that traditionally the SMC used to carry out snow clearance operations with JCBs, loaders, spades and shelves during winters in Srinagar is to believed, question can be asked that why Mattu holding the position of Mayor for the second time after short span of fourteen months did not get the administrative clearance for the purchase of snow cutters and blowers during his first term.  Citing administrative and financial technicalities for the unprecedented delay in the procurement of snow cutters and blowers is just a lame excuse and an attempt of the SMC Mayor to evade queries from critics and people in opposition. The time has come for the SMC Mayor to learn lessons from the lapses which show administrative and institutional inefficiency and incompetence of Srinagar Municipal Corporation under the leadership of  Junaid Azim Mattu for the second time in last three years.

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