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Pollen menace: Old Srinagar takes the axe in its own hands 

By Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

Srinagar, May 22: Seeing no help coming from the government, the residents of old Srinagar are axing the poplars to get rid of the pollens that are causing allergies to almost the entire population.

The residents of areas such as Kawdara and Rajouri Kadal have been cutting down the Russian poplars in the last few days.

So far, they have axed several poplars.

“We got fed up. We approached the government several times to cut down the Russian poplars, but despite assurances, nothing happened. After failing on all fronts, we decided to cut them down on our own,” said Mohammad Sidiq chairman Mohalla committee , Rajouri Kada.

Sidiq said the money earned from the wood would be donated to mosques.

“In winters, we require a huge quantity of wood for heating. We cannot use poplars, so we will use the money we will earn from them. We get an average Rs 9,000 per tree,” Sidiq said.

Sidiq said they had been struggling for a long time due to the pollen shed by the trees every spring.

“We couldn’t live in our homes due to this problem. We could hardly open the windowpanes. The elderly and children were the worst hit,” said a group of residents at Kawadara.

“The government is not going to do anything. We have to act on our own.”

In 2014, the High Court asked the state government to remove the Russian poplar trees in the valley.

However, the government has failed to act on the directions, resulting in yet another spring of pollen allergies in the valley.