GPS no match for lazy garbage truck workers

Sep 26, 2013, 01:08 IST | Chetna Yerunkar

BMC plans to scrap global positioning devices in garbage trucks after finding out that drivers would go to the spot but not pick up the trash

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plan to track garbage collection across the city with the help of a GPS device has hit a dead end, as the pilot project hasn’t yielded the desired results. The BMC has decided not to implement the system in the city.

Project dumped: The BMC has scrapped its plan to introduce GPS devices in garbage collection vehicles across the city, as the pilot hasn’t yielded the desired results. Pic for representation

Last year, the BMC had spent Rs 2.5 lakh to introduce ten GPS devices in garbage collection vans in two wards -- Shivaji Park in Dadar and Gokuldham society in Goregaon (E) -- as a pilot project.

The GPS device showed all the garbage collection spots in the areas, and with the help of the device, officials could track the movements of the truck and keep a record of all the spots visited by the garbage truck.

Its chief function was to show the officials that a truck had reached a garbage spot and from there, it picked up the garbage and reached the dumping ground.

Officials from the BMC failed to foresee the glaring loophole in the system -- a GPS device is meant only to show that the truck had reached a garbage spot. There were no means to show that the truck had actually picked up the garbage from the spot and gone to the dumping ground, which was evident when citizens started complaining that the garbage had not been picked up from their area.

Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, said, “When the pilot project was on, we received complaints from residents that garbage was still lying in their area. We were supposed to implement this system in all the wards after analysing the reports submitted by the technical team that worked on the project. But after seeing these unsatisfactory reports, we have decided to scrap the project.”

According to Adtani, there was also no actual proof to catch hold of the erring contractors or labourers. Hence, they are on the lookout for a better, more advanced system that will not only be able to track garbage collection, but will also report malpractices.

>> Private contractors or BMC labourers responsible for picking up the garbage would just go to the garbage spot to show that the truck had reached the spot
>> They would simply leave from the spot without picking up the garbage
>> On the GPS system, it showed that the truck had gone to the collection spot, and from thereon, to a dumping yard. No record could be maintained of the garbage being collected.

New plan: Click pics
Meanwhile, the BMC launched another pilot project two weeks ago, this time in the T ward in Mulund. This project comprises a software wherein garbage collectors will have to click pictures of garbage collected at each spot and upload the pictures on a portal, the commissioner said. The portal will have to be updated regularly, for which the BMC is going to provide mobile phones to the garbage collectors. 

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