Four years ago, the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi outsourced the task of door-to-door trash collection to a private firm in Rohini and Civil Lines. The corporation said the firm would also segregate, transport and dispose of the waste. The dirty dhalaos were supposed to disappear, making way for ATMs and flower shops.
But there’s a good reason why the pilot project was not extended to the rest of the city. Despite privatisation, residents allege that trash vans don’t turn up regularly. When they do, they don’t stick to schedule. So, people are forced to throw waste on streets. And the overflowing dhalaos have stayed put. Biomedical waste
Following complaints, the firm’s performance was reviewed and fine slapped. Now the North Delhi Municipal Corporation says the firm doesn’t have the wherewithal to do its job.
The corporation has hired another firm in Karol Bagh and Paharganj to collect waste from dhalaos. It was supposed to ensure that there was no garbage in every dhalao for at least two hours every day. But even in these two zones as well as in Narela, where the corporation itself collects waste from dhalaos, sanitation levels are appalling.
The grand plan was to segregate waste, then recycle and compost it so that only 20 per cent of garbage could go for dumping. But the plan has gone haywire. The landfill at Bhalaswa exhausted its lifespan long back. A new site has come up at Narela-Bawana road but caters to only Civil Lines and Rohini as it is far away from other areas of north Delhi. So waste from Paharganj, Karol Bagh and Narela continues to reach the overflowing Bhalaswa landfill, resulting in massive pollution.
Despite court interventions, government and civic agencies have failed to find a way forward.
But the problem is not limited to the landfill. Harpal Singh of Malkaganj in Civil Lines said, “There is waste everywhere. The sweepers who are supposed to collect garbage don’t work. Trash pickups don’t visit the area regularly.” Zakir Ahmed of Idgah Road in Sadar area said, “People dump waste on the streets. The dhalaos overflow and are cleared in 3-4 days.”
AK Jain of Chandni Chowk said, “All the dhalaos are overflowing and there is no regular cleaning mechanism. People, too, treat the streets as a dumping ground.” In Indira Vikas Colony, near Mukherjee Nagar, people litter all around. Milap Chand of Haqeeqat Nagar RWA said, “We have employed people to take garbage to the dhalaos. Door-to-door collection has failed. The dhalaos are not cleared in time.” Anand Kambot of Kamla Nagar market association agreed. “Those who are supposed to clear the waste push it under parked cars,” he said.
But Naveen Kaushik of Sector 11 RWA in Rohini had a positive story to tell. “Door-to-door collection is taking place. The dhalao has separate bins for wet and dry waste.”
Clearly, much of the Rs. 600 crore spent on waste management and sanitation, is going drown the drain.
(With inputs from Ritam Halder)