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BMC's contractor fiasco leaves suburbs stinking

Although the civic body has roped in a temporary garbage contractor to collect refuse from Mulund, Bhandup and Ghatkopar, the BMC has stated that these wards will still face hitches in waste collection. Lack of compactors is likely to hamper door-to-door collection of garbage in S, T and N wards — these generate around 170 tonnes of garbage daily. Since the past 15 days, residents of these wards have been putting up with stink emanating from the garbage accumulated in their area.


Operation clean-up: Congress workers started collecting garbage from overflowing bins and transferring the waste into hired tempos yesterday. Pic/Sameer Markande

“The contractor from that area refused the six-month extension for collecting and dumping garbage from these three wards. Since he also collects refuse from zone II, where he has accepted the extension, he has transferred all his compactors there. The new contractor would take at least 45 days to mobilise his machinery and compactors. We are trying our level best to minimise inconvenience to residents,” said Rahul Shewale, BMC standing committee chairman.

“We have cleared the backlog in the past two days, and have appointed a temporary contractor for the next 45 days. The only change will be the method of collection. There are very few compactors and the contractor will be using JCBs to lift the garbage and then transfer it to dumpers. It will be a difficult task, but it would be done. We request people to dump the garbage at the collection points, as there would be no door-to-door collection,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner (solid waste management).

But the issue has only highlighted the lack of comprehensive policy for waste collection by the civic body, a failure that is likely to affect other parts of the city in future. The garbage collection contract terms ended on May 31, and the BMC was supposed to appoint new contractors through a tendering process six months prior to the expiry of the existing contract, but it did not do so. A contentious issue is the tender condition of having Euro 4 vehicles. Unavailability of Euro 4 vehicles in the market has made meeting the condition difficult and the matter is sub judice.

Congress workers took to the streets yesterday and started collecting garbage and loading them into hired tempos. The drive went on for an hour, following which BMC officials arrived and assured immediate clearance of garbage. R V Biradar, assistant municipal commissioner, S-ward, said, “I have over 322 spots under my ward, but due to insufficient number of JCBs available with the temporary contractor it becomes difficult to collect garbage of the entire area by 9 am in the morning. If we fail to collect garbage once in 24 hours, the same will be done the following day.”

Dr S R Hasnale, assistant municipal commissioner, T-ward, said, “I accept that there is a delay in garbage collection in T ward, but there is a similar situation in other wards too. I personally take rounds to ensure garbage gets collected at least once in 24 hours. The contract has expired in May and since then we have employed a temporary contractor but he collects garbage using a JCB, which leads to delay in timely collection of garbage.”

Balu Naik, a resident of Bhandup, said, “There is a lot of inconvenience due to delayed and irregular collection of garbage in our ward. The garbage lies unpicked for several days and the garbage overflows the bins, causing a strong stench. The garbage that has piled up also gets drenched in the rains and flows on to the streets. We have submitted a complaint to the ward officer and they have been giving us false assurances of action.” 

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