Srinagar: Srinagar is not amongst the most polluted cities of the world, the Jammu and Kashmir state pollution control board has reassured ahead of the upcoming annual Amarnath Yatra which brings lakhs of visitors to the valley.
In a report last month the World Health Organisation or WHO has placed Srinagar, a popular tourist destination, at number 10 in its list of most polluted cities in the world.
Rebutting the report, the state pollution control board said it has set up multiple centres in Srinagar to check the air quality in the city and its data showed the pollution levels are well within permissible limits.
"It sends wrong signals because Srinagar is called the paradise on earth and attracts large number of tourists especially during this season, these wrong reports which are not based on facts and figures sends wrong signals to people of country and world, we strongly deny it is not a correct report", said Sidharth Kumar, Chairman J&K State Pollution Control Board.
The state pollution body also questioned the authenticity of the report saying that it hasn't shared its data with the WHO.
Tourists have also countered the findings in the report. "I did not find any pollution in Srinagar, the weather is good here during summers and winters and there isn't pollution", said Chandan Kumar, a tourist in Srinagar.
"We have not encountered any pollution here. We came yesterday and have been roaming around the Dal lake today. We are here for 8 days", another tourist Bakti added.
The WHO report could have implications for tourism industry struggling for survival in an atmosphere of violence in the valley but a rebuttal by the state pollution control board has come as a relief for tourists and people dependent on tourism.