“ There is nothing new in world except the history you do not know.” – Harry Truman

Fazili describes how the paradise is facing duel stench emanating from Achan Saidpora Solid Waste Dumping Site on one side, and from untreated water of Brari Numbal mini lake on the other. The stink is in the heart of the city

(Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili, 68, was born in Srinagar. He received his early schooling from the Government Middle School, Nowhatta, Srinagar, and from M.P. High School, Baghi Dilawar Khan in Srinagar. Mr. Fazili completed his F.Sc. from the Sri Pratap College in Srinagar, and received his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Annamalai University with honours grade. He joined the J&K government service upon graduation and steadily rose up the ranks to the position of Chief Engineer at his retirement. He managed a number of important infrastructure projects during his government service, including the Model Town Chrar-i-Sharif, Lower Jhelum Hydro Electric Project, Solid Waste Disposal Scheme Srinagar City, Circular Road Project Srinagar City, etc. He has numerous publications to his credit, including Srinagar the Sun City, Our Ancestors and Saints of Kashmir, etc., which were presented in seminar and symposia. He writes for various journals and is presently working on the Jhelum Valley Civilization.)


Way back in 1981, the J&K Government entrusted to UEED, the task of formulation of the feasibility report with the objective of developing the baseline information and parameters for formulating and designing a well conceived cost-effective scheme for hygienic collection, transportation and disposal of solid wastes of Greater Srinagar city. While the second phase of the work under this project would involve the exercise for establishment of the appropriate scheme and its engineering aspects. Having retained M/S Universal Enviroscience as consultants, a report was formulated, which identified and delineated the areas and essential components which were of relevance to the second phase of the work and also provided a conceptual system of the solid waste management programme for Greater Srinagar city.

The subjects covered were:

(I) Review of growth pattern of Srinagar Town based on population, sectoral activities, geo-climatic and other conditions and land based use pattern.

(II) Identification and assessment of sources, nature and quantum of solid wastes in Srinagar town based on sources, nature- physical and chemical characteristics, classification of solid wastes-assessment of recoverable materials and of fuel and fertilizer production and quantum.

(III) Inventory and assessment of existing solid waste collection (including house boats and dunga boats), transportation and disposal facilities and manpower and workshop facilities.

(IV) Conceptual system of solid waste collection, transportation and hygienic disposal and location of additional sites in Srinagar.

(V) Identification of the areas for further investigations and survey.

(VI) Guidelines for improvement/modifications of available data/reports.

(VII) Recommendations on financial aspects and time bound programme of the project.

The physical and chemical characteristics of the solid waste samples revealed that the wastes are most amenable to composting. Besides other recommendations for improving the door to door collection system, transportation, sanitary landfill for a few years, installation of mechanical compost plants at Noorbagh and at the landfill site within a period of five years was recommended to Srinagar Municipality. The recommendations were partly implemented by the SMC, but the main recommendation for installation of mechanical compost plant (MCP) was shelved for reasons best known to the authorities.

The issue of preparation of a detailed project report on Solid waste Disposal of Srinagar city was again taken up by Srinagar Municipality in 2000 AD, but its results were not known.

The problem of stench in Srinagar city, would have been, eliminated if the proposed “Mechanical compost plants” would have been installed in time, which would have also minimized the land area required for sanitary landfill, besides generating organic compost to be made available to the farmers to enrich their soil. This way the harmful effects of chemical compost would also have been obviated.

I was specially deputed by UEED to New Delhi to inspect the mechanical compost plant of NDMC in eighties. I also attended an interstate meeting in Housing Department in New Delhi, who took review of the already functioning compost plants of different cities. I understood that our state had made no efforts to obtain Central assistance for establishing the mechanical compost plant. Later I was tipped for visiting Japan for observing their system of disposal of solid and liquid wastes, but it did not mature as my sanction order became victim of red tape in the secretariat offices.

As observed by me at NDMC the process of conversion of compost takes just three weeks by dumping the wastes directly from trucks on a platform, sprinkling water and turning the wastes mechanically for 21 days during which period considerable heat gets generated in the wastes and decomposition takes place. Thereafter the wastes are placed on conveyer belts and hand picking is done for any hard materials like stones, metals, glasses, plastics, polythene etc. by the persons who remain on either side of the slow moving belt. For smaller elements screening is also recommended. The decomposed waste ultimately goes to the pulverizer, for grinding it in to a powder, which is packed in bags to be sold to farmers. There is no problem of stench during this operation as has been observed in various metropolitan cities including the capital city of Delhi.

Everyday there is a protest lodged in the media by the inhabitants of the surrounding areas, even Imam of Jamia Mosque Srinagar has condemned from pulpit on Friday prayers, the apathy of the authorities for not being able to tackle the problem of stench emanating from Achan dumping site for the last three decades. Similarly the Brari-numbal mini lake in the heart of city has turned to be a cess-pool adding to the already existing foul smell from Achan site. The STP constructed at huge cost is non functional and filth from four lakh citizens pours in to the mini lake round the clock.

In view of the growing menace of stench spreading in to the interior of the city of Srinagar, it is high time that Govt. wakes up to the situation and takes up the construction of the compost plants as recommended by the experts of international repute.

According to Master Plan of Srinagar Metropolitan area 2000-2021, for a population of 12 lakhs in 2000 AD and estimated 23.50 lakhs in 2021 AD, Solid Waste including fruit and vegetable wastes works out to 538 tons and 1356 tons / day respectively. Out of 538 tons of solid waste 300 tons were handled by the Municipality in 2000 AD and the remaining 236 tons waste was partly dumped in water bodies, partly in ditches and partly salvaged in the form of Kabadi materials at domestic levels. As for the disposal of waste materials, SMC managed to collect the garbage from 308 collection points in 2000 AD (presently 575 points in 2013) within the municipal limits. These collection points are interspersed all over the city on roads in open form. However recently in certain selected areas, plastic dustbins have been provided by the SMC and door to door collection is made against a monthly charge of Rs. 50/- per house hold. This has reduced the open spread of solid waste attracting street dogs, besides spreading local obnoxious smell in these particular areas.

According to the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, it has at present only one Dumping Site at SyedporaAchan which comprises of 540 Kanals of land. Where the waste is being spread over and is further being covered with clay and use of disinfects are also being made. The existing Dumping site is being improved and modernized in a scientific Engineered Landfill site through the financial and technical guidance of Asian Development Bank. A detailed action plan/project report on this score has been prepared. In fact some of the works have been taken up for execution by the J&K Economic Reconstruction Agency against the money released by the Asian Development Bank. All the environmental and other related issues will be redressed under the modernization plan. The modernization of existing open dumping site into a scientific Sanitary Landfill site will be taken up for execution by the J&KERA in a couple of months against the estimated cost of Rs. 22.00 Crores that will take care of all the pollutants including that of air quality, ground water quality and aesthetic look and landscaping of the interior of Landfill site as per guidelines of J&K SPCB. Besides this there will be a permanent facility for regular monitoring of these components in future

As can be viewed from the future programme of SMC regarding disposal of solid wastes, the recommendation of the construction of Mechanical Compost Plant has been ignored for unknown reasons. It would be prudent if some officers were deputed to inspect the working of the mechanical compost plant of NDMC, whereby they would get a clear idea of its efficiency and its suitability for our conditions.