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Night sweeping gets buried in the dark

If the civic agencies want, the Capital can be much cleaner and almost dust-free. But thanks to the civic agencies’ mismanagement, the night sweeping plan couldn’t be implemented properly.

delhi Updated: Nov 04, 2010 23:11 IST
Neelam Pandey

If the civic agencies want, the Capital can be much cleaner and almost dust-free. But thanks to the civic agencies’ mismanagement, the night sweeping plan couldn’t be implemented properly.

After a Delhi High Court order in 2003, both the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) had given an undertaking to carry out night sweeping. However, the scheme has been implemented in only 46 areas so far.

“The MCD is good at making excuses and that is all it has been doing for the past many years. Sweeping carried out in the morning is a health hazard that leads to respiratory problems. Just by saying that the task is difficult to implement it can’t give up the idea of night sweeping,” says Ravinder Raj, a lawyer, who had filed a PIL in the court regarding night sweeping eight years ago.

The civic body on the other hand argues that the implementation is taking time as a majority of its workers are women who cannot work at night due to security reasons. “Women staffers are apprehensive about sweeping the roads at night. And with vehicles parked on the roads how is one supposed to clean the roads? A number of roads are also not well-lit. Keeping these considerations in mind it becomes difficult to implement it. But we are going ahead with the implementation,” said a senior MCD official.

The concept of night sweeping has been adopted in many cities such as Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Rohtak and Jammu. The 46 areas of Delhi where it is carried out include Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, East of Kailash, Anand Parbat, Okhla, Mehrauli, Nehru Place, Bhogal Main Bazaar, Bhikaji Cama Place, Yusuf Sarai and Shalimar Bagh among others.

Case studies

In east Delhi, sewage rules

New Delhi: The familiar sight of overflowing sewage, garbage dumps, open manholes, and the smell of rotting garbage is back again. The colonies of east Delhi, kept spic-and-span during the Commonwealth Games, have reverted to the eye-sores that they were earlier. While the residents keep complaining about the ill maintenance, the civic agencies continue to turn a blind eye to it.

“Delhi is returning to what it was before the Games. We were expecting the same level of cleanliness to continue after the Games, but it seems the civic agencies have no interest,” says VK Arora, a resident of Kiran Vihar in East Delhi.

Residents claim that now that the Games are over, keeping the colonies clean is not a priority for the civic agencies.

“The sewage has been overflowing for the last couple of weeks. Despite repeated reminders, we have got no response from the Delhi Jal Board. During the Games, we had faced a similar problem of overflowing sewage, but it was fixed as soon as we complained. Now that the Games are over, the civic authorities are least bothered,” says Anil Bajpai, president, Gandhi Nagar RWA.

The absenteeism of sanitation workers is also a major hurdle in the sanitation work. “There is no mechanism in place to keep a check on them. How long can one complain?” says Pramod Chawla of Hauz Khas Enclave.


Waterless urinals go dry

New Delhi: The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) was supposed to build 1,000 waterless urinals before the Games. The Games are over but the agency has only put in place 200 of them. And not all of them are functional. Barely months after their construction a number of them were vandalised and left unusable. The civic agency has now decided to rope in a private firm to maintain and operate them. The company will be responsible for manning these waterless urinals. The cost of constructing each waterless urinal is around R4.5 lakh.

“There are a number of markets that still don’t have any public conveniences. The MCD has been making tall claims of coming up with waterless urinals but now that the Games are over it seems unlikely that the project will be completed,” said Rajesh Singh, a resident of Lajpat Nagar III.

This project was conceived by the civic body to tide over the problem of water shortage. The heart of the system is the cartridge fitted in the ceramic bowl. The cartridge is filled with biodegradable sealant that acts as a barrier. Due to absence of water and contact with air, urine does not form any gas and the toilet remains odour-free and reduces the burden on the sewage system.