Mumbai: BMC spends Rs 4 crore on bins nobody wants

Updated: Sep 18, 2019, 07:27 IST | Prajakta Kasale |

After struggling for over seven months to install 4 underground garbage bins, civic body is now buying 40 of them despite space constraints and lukewarm response from its own officers

The underground bins were introduced by the BMC to avoid the filth and stench that the traditional public garbage bins cause. Pics/Ashish Raje
The underground bins were introduced by the BMC to avoid the filth and stench that the traditional public garbage bins cause. Pics/Ashish Raje

Despite taking close to a year to install just four underground bins, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has gone ahead and decided to buy 40 more at a cost of Rs 4.15 crore. The delay in installing the first four as part of the pilot project was attributed to the lack of underground space, which is full of utility wires. Now, ward officers have been asked to find two spaces each for the new bins.

The Solid Waste Management Department had received a dull response from the ward offices regarding the new bins given the time it takes to find a suitable space for installation. The idea of having underground bins was first initiated in 2017 and the first four bins were received in June 2018. The BMC, however, failed to install them on the pre-decided spots for months after they had arrived.

Also Read: Where have you spent our money? BMC asks BEST

The underground bins were introduced by the BMC to avoid the filth and stench that the traditional public garbage bins cause

The initial plan was to fix them in south Mumbai's tourist spots — two bins in A ward (Gateway of India and Fashion Street) and two in D ward (Girgaum Chowpatty and Forjett Street). In February 2019, one bin was installed near Mafatlal Club at Girgaum Chowpatty. The remaining three spots were however changed. A ward somehow managed to install it at Cheetah Gate in Fort after considering around five to six other locations.

The remaining two bins were finally sent to the western suburbs - one near Aksa beach in Malad (P North ward) and another at Gorai Beach, Borivli (R Central). The BMC's decision to buy 40 more bins for Rs 10 lakh each is thus being looked at skeptically by ward officers. The total cost with GST goes up to Rs 4.15 crore. The bins are of a 2.2 cubic metre size and can carry up to 500 kg of waste with separate cabins for dry and wet waste.

Also Read: Garden audit: BMC writes to cops seeking security around Mumbai gardens

The new bins are supposed to replace the traditional ones across the city and prevent the filth and stench that they cause
The new bins are supposed to replace the traditional ones across the city and prevent the filth and stench that they cause

"There are more than 25 types of utility wires from electricity to gas pipelines and from MTNL to water pipelines underground. There are also gutters or nullahs. It is very difficult to find a wide footpath with a free underground space along a busy street where the bins are required," said a ward officer.

The BMC, with its 24 ward offices, had asked for two location suggestions from each ward and from the SWM department too. But the department is yet to submit even half the number of spots. "The main issue is space. The utility wires work comes under another department. It thus gets further difficult to locate and remove them," said an officer from the SWM department.

The new bins are supposed to replace the traditional ones across the city and prevent the filth and stench that they cause

"We asked each ward to send two spots so there will be a total of 44 spots. We have space issues but we are considering removing one or two utility wires to accommodate the bunker for underground bins," said Ashok Khaire, deputy municipal commissioner of BMC.

What are these bins?
Pits are dug in which these bins are lowered. People can dump garbage into them and when they fill up, a sensor fitted in the bin will alert BMC personnel responsible for clearing them. The garbage will then be removed and sent to a landfill, a civic officer had explained last year.

44
Total no. of spots the BMC has asked ward offices to suggest

Initial spots for pilot project

Gateway of India
Fashion Street, MG Road
Girgaum Chowpatty
Forjett Street
Spots where bins were installed:
Girgaum Chowpatty
Cheetah Gate
Aksa Beach
Gorai Beach

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