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SWaCH out, MNC gets contract to clear university's garbage

The University of Pune (UoP) officials have arrived at the conclusion that rather than provide livelihood to 128 women affiliated to NGO Solid Waste Collection and Handling (SWaCH), it’s better to appoint a multinational company.

GS4, a security solution firm with an annual turnover that runs into crores of rupees, has been awarded the contract to look after the waste management of the 411-acre varsity campus. The company has been given a two-year contract worth Rs 3.39 crore, commencing from October 1.


Trash talk: University of Pune. File Pic

However, after drawing flak from both media and SWaCH for abruptly terminating the earlier contract, UoP officials have decided to retain the services of 10 women from SWaCH.

“The newly appointed firm will provide 129 employees, including five supervisors, to UoP. The domain of this firm is mainly in the security sector and is also tasked with the security operations of Delhi Metro,” a UoP official said, on condition of anonymity.

University sources, however, said that by awarding the contract to G4S, varsity officials have eliminated the threat from worker unions who have vested interests.

“Many unions were deliberately targeting SWaCH just to ensure that their own people get a foothold in the university’s waste management, which is lucrative. However, by giving the contract to a big firm, varsity has made sure that no one can push their vested interests,” a university source said.

Dr Narendra Kadu, registrar, UoP, said, “The varsity is just following the government’s recent directives, which stated that works incurring costs of Rs 10 lakh and above should be given out after following the e-tendering process. That’s the only reason why we discontinued the work of SWaCH. But, we still have managed to retain the services of a few women belonging to this NGO.”

When contacted SWaCH manager (outreach) Manisha Desai said, “It is really disappointing that the UoP has given the contract to a profit making multinational by neglecting 128 waste-pickers from the weaker section of society. Now, if the company has already started their work, hopefully they take the initiative to incorporate the remaining members of SWaCH.”  

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