SRINAGAR: In the rhetoric of converting the two millenniums’ old Srinagar into a smart city, the managers have forgotten the basics. On Sunday, when tens o thousands of people converge in the city centre for purchases in the flea market, the only urinal for males and females was locked.
“Closed due to the shortage of water,” a paper tied with the closed shutter said. It bore the cell phone number, probably of the person who runs it.
The closure was visible on a day when nearly 100 foreign buyers are participating in the buyers and the sellers meeting in the SKICC. The event is a major meeting between the handcraft exports and the overseas buyers and it took places after many years of interruption.
The closed urinal is one of the two basic facilities that exist in the main city centre. Both are paid facilities and are operated by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Lal Chowk is the second important stop-over for tourists after the Dalgate-Boulevard belt, the main tourist hub.
Scores of people were seen visiting the shut urinal on Sunday. These included women buyers who had come to shop in the Sunday market.
Srinagar is considered to be a key tourist city with a huge floating population. But it is one of the major cities that have poor basic civic amenities. There are only a few thousand urinals and washrooms in the city and most of them are in a terrible state. Off late, the SMC had involved various private payers but it as not made a big difference.