The Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) plan to sweep the national Capital’s roads using modern mechanical sweepers is gathering dust. Reason: the city roads are too bad for mechanical sweepers to carry out the job.
Dirt enters cracks and potholes, which automatic sweepers are unable to reach. As a result, labourers have to clean these areas manually, after the machines are done with the job.
In September, the civic body had procured 14 mechanical sweepers to clean around 900 km roads in the Capital. However, with the test drives failing, the MCD is now preparing a list of roads where the sweepers may prove useful.
The machines have been brought from Germany and their parts have been assembled here. A total of Rs18-20 crore will be spent on the procuring and maintenance of these machines.
A senior sanitation department official said during trials, the sweepers found obstacles like broken footpaths, potholes and broken dividers, which could not be taken care of. “Even after mechanical sweepers had done the job, manual labour had to be used to clean the roads. Also, additional manual labour is needed to collect the dirt that the mechanical sweepers collect. So, for now, the sweepers are lying idle,” he said.
Among the stretches that may be cleaned using these machines are Ring Road and road outside the Civic Centre, the MCD’s headquarters.
“The Ring Road is smoother and most stretches are well maintained, so the sweepers can be used there,” said the official. The 900km roads were identified before the 2010 Commonwealth Games and many of them are damaged.
As per the plan, roads that were 60-ft wide or above were to be cleaned by using mechanical sweepers before the Games commenced.
Besides, the municipal corporation was supposed to procure a total of 28 mechanical sweepers to clean bigger roads of the city, reducing the need for manual labour.