Tulip Garden: Flowery, Yet Stinky

7 April 2015
Rising Kashmir
Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar: A day after chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed described Srinagar as a 'city of magnificent gardens' after throwing open Asia's largest Tulip Garden, the tourists at the picturesque garden had to defecate in open. The tourists were seen looking for the places to urinate, causing much embarrassment to the idea of Asia's largest garden. The garden's main public urinals have been locked. Some of the tourists, locals and children were even seen urinating over the tulips. While on the other side it was a familiar sight at the famed and much hyped Tulip garden in summer capital Srinagar, tourists queuing up in front of its defunct toilets, who later were forced to defecate in open air. 'This is strange. How can administration be so cellulous here,' asked, Antony, a tourist from Mumbai, who introduced himself as employee from Ministry of Science and Technology, Maharashtra. 'There are just couple places that you can visits during these days and if you get this treatment, I am sure it will have a very bad impact on the Kashmir tourism,' he said. On the lack of public toilets in the garden and overall in summer capital Srinagar and mostly in downtown areas, Antony's friend and colleague, Akilesh said many travel companies rely on hotels in the area for tourists to relieve themselves. 'The lack of urinals is a serious problem in Kashmir,' Akhliesh said. He said that they had come in a beautiful garden of tulips, where everything was flowery, but the lack of public toilets had made everything 'stinky' 'The lack of public toilets in the city was s a difficult and serious problem,' he said. The opening of the garden usually marks the advent of tourist season in Kashmir. While exuding confidence that the tourist flow will increase this season, the chief minister on the opening ceremony said 'Kashmir is crime-free and as peaceful as any other State in the country.' 'I am hopeful that there will be a huge tourist rush this season. With Union Government allowing LTC on private airliners also, the visitors' inflow will tend to grow,' he said. Mufti went around the Tulip Garden and walked various pathways intertwined with flowerbeds of tulips of all hues sprawling all over the Zabarwan foothill. With the huge influx of tourists to Kashmir Valley, government has failed to ensure even basic and essential services in summer capital, Srinagar. With the stench from the urinals in washrooms that look seldom flushed or even maintained, it is the first bad impression to take the excitement of landing in the beautiful vale away. Earlier a leading travel agent of Kashmir told Rising Kashmir that he was shocked to see the washrooms unflushed registered protest by sending pictures of the dirty toilets. Former Health Officer, Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Dr Shafqat Khan said that world over; there was a proper system of standard public toilets for tourists. 'Tourism sites need to be fully equipped with toilets,' Khan said. 'You can't let the image of Kashmir tourism worsen in the eye of tourists for the lack of toilets,' He added. While admitting to Rising Kashmir, Director Floriculture, Sunil Misri, said that due to the incessant rains and increasing water level from the Dal Lake, the existing public urinal block stuck to seepage and it was difficult to clear it. 'Water table has gone very high and it caused issued to the public urinals too,' he said. 'We have two blocks of public urinals, but one is locked because of the seepage problem,' he said. Kashmir's Tulip Garden is spread over 30 hectares, nearly 1 million tulips of 53 different species adorn and add colour to the Tulip Garden which is decked in between Cheshma Shahi and Botanical Garden on one side and the Dal Lake and Mughal Gardens on the other.