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Meet SMC’s brand ambassador who was picked up from trash and forgotten

Srinagar, Sep 27: Srinagar Municipal Corporation’s vanishing love for its brand ambassador is forcing the 19-year-old rag-picker surrender his dream to receive education.
Impressed his efforts to clean Wular Lake, falling in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, the municipality nominated Bilal Ahmad Dar as its brand ambassador in 2017.
Bilal soon became known as the ‘Wular Boy’, who started seeing his fame as an opportunity to fulfil his otherwise-rough dream of receiving education.
“I always wanted to study, but after my father’s death, I had to leave my education to support the family,” he explains.
“While working for the municipality, I felt that education is very necessary for me. I don’t know anything about the environment. I want to clean all the pollution in this beautiful lake, but I need to study for that.”
Bilal, who has studied up to class 6, said he was helped by Dr Shafkat Khan, the former commissioner of the municipality.
“I am very thankful to him. He gave me space in his house to live and admitted me to a government school,” he said.
Since his departure, Bilal said he visited school only twice, as he has been “facing a lot of problems”.
“I have abandoned my studies, because the Srinagar Municipal Corporation pays me Rs 10,000 after many months,” he said.
“I suffer, because the musicality doesn’t pay me regularly. My mother keeps waiting for my salary to run the house, but sometimes I have nothing to send to her.”
Joint commissioner Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Abdul Majeed Raina, said, “I have recently joined here, so I don’t know much about Bilal’s case. I really want to meet this guy and will see what help can be provided to him.”