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Can Delhi afford this Finnishing touch?

How far will the city’s caretakers go to clean it up for next year’s Games? Very far, it seems, reports Neelam Pandey.

delhi Updated: Nov 23, 2009 23:56 IST
Neelam Pandey

How far will the city’s caretakers go to clean it up for next year’s Games?

Very far, it seems.

This time, their solution for Delhi’s garbage problem comes from the land of Nokia — Finland.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has decided to import 67 ‘underground’ dustbins at a cost of Rs 2.18 crore.

Each dustbin, therefore, is worth more than Rs 3.25 lakh — more expensive than most cars on our roads.

It is also 10 times more expensive than the stock MCD dustbin, 5,000 of which dot the city already.

Should Delhi replace all its existing bins with the new variety — MCD does intend to make all bins underground — the bill will come to Rs 163 crore — twice the cost of the ITO Chungi underpass and cloverleaf.

pointless idea

This plan of the civic body is being introduced at a time when the door-to-door garbage collection scheme has already begun.

Under the scheme, garbage segregation is done at the household level and dustbins are rendered redundant.

the plan

Each one of the new bins will be nine feet deep. While two-thirds of the bin will be under the ground, the remaining three feet will be exposed to enable dumping. The chute or mouth of these bins will have lids modeled on letter boxes, said sources.

Each bin will have a capacity of 1.5 tonnes, which the MCD claims is thrice that of a normal dustbin.

“We use cranes to collect garbage from the dumps and instead of using the mechanism on ground, the garbage will be lifted out of the underground dump under this new system,” said a senior MCD official.

Installation points

To begin with, MCD has identified 28 locations in the City zone and the Sadar Paharganj zone, considering their proximity to Games venues, for installing the bins.

According to MCD officials, bids for the ‘deep waste collection system’ were closed in September this year and a Finnish firm was shortlisted. The deal is now awaiting approval from MCD’s Standing Committee.

Within the corporation itself, councillors have questioned the utility of these expensive dustbins.

“How many more experiments will be done in the name of garbage collection? When we have introduced door-to-door garbage collection in the city, why are we wasting money on purchasing these dustbins?” said a BJP councillor who did not want to be named.

Another councillor, who did not want to be named, said the cash-strapped civic body could have utilised this money for more ‘useful things’.

“They could have spent this money on temporary night shelters for the homeless. More than 1.6 lakh people in the city are forced to brace the winter chill under the open sky. The night shelters run by the corporation are able to accommodate only 4,500 persons,” said the same councillor.