Can Kashmiris shake their “babu mentality” to go after entrepreneurship wherever it exists? Today it is garbage, tomorrow it may be something else
Unrelenting Bangladeshis Outdo SMC
Srinagar: While Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) lacks waste segregation facility and dumps garbage at its lone landfill site at Achen, it is Bangladeshi migrants who are reaping the benefit.
The industrious migrants not only rid city of tons of waste, much before SMC workers, in the morning, but they also stop usable items ruin that would otherwise end up at the landfill site.
“We always whine that there are no jobs. But see how they make money without any investment,” says a scrap dealer Mushtaq Ahmad, who receives most of the scrap collected by Bangladeshi rag pickers.
These migrants live near Noorjehan Bridge, locally Cement Kadal, and are earning through waste collection from various dumping site within the city.
Equipped with a cycle rickshaw, the migrants could be seen groping in heaps of garbage for cardboard sheets and boxes, transparent polythene sheets, plastic pet bottles, tin cans, glass bottles, iron scraps and nails, besides other things that are recyclable.
Ahmad says, “The Bangladeshis are highly industrious. In different localities, they work endlessly from early morning till late nights to collect waste.”
The segregation process is never a one-man-job. Rather the migrants involve entire family in the job.
“It is actually a family effort. We work on the collected material and segregate it later before we sell it to the scrap dealers in the city,” says a Bangladeshi worker Najmul (name changed on request).
He says that the entire family from children to women takes part in the process of collection and segregation.
“My wife, however, makes candies which she sells to the children in the community,” he says.
Najmul refused to divulge details on how he along with others landed up in the valley; however, he said Bangladeshis are everywhere in Kashmir and India.
“We have been frequenting various cities across India where we are engaged in low wage works that includes waste segregation and final recycling, but since no one segregates garbage here in the valley, the chances of collecting scrap is more,” he says.
Over the years, several families have settled here in the city and are enjoying waste collection throughout Kashmir.