With monsoon set to pick up pace by next month, the municipal corporation is yet to hire an agency to mechanically clean its covered drains that go through the city.
It is pertinent to mention here that all the open drains of the city were covered with cemented slabs in 2009. The drains were last cleaned in 2011, even though it carries huge filth and waste that often create hindrance in smooth flow of rainwater during monsoon.
Every year, the areas, especially inside the walled city literally turns into a pool of water due to incapacity of these covered drains to smoothly carry out rain water. At present, the MC’s sanitary wing has deputed nearly 40 workers to manually extract waste from the drains at manhole points, which do not seem to be sufficient to clear the waste.
An official told HT that these covered drains are 6-8 feet deep and with no proper cleanliness over the years, they have been fully stuffed with all kinds of waste. “Till the time a vacuum machine is employed to clear the drains, it will not be prepared smoothly to handle the rain water which is its prime job,” said the official.
When contacted, superintending engineer Harkiran Pal Singh said the MC had floated a tender earlier this month to hire an agency to clean its drainages through machines, but it could not get any response.
“Now the tender has been re-floated by incorporating cleanliness work of sewerage lines, too, that has increased the overall estimate of the job. The financial bids are called till June 10 and hopefully the cleanliness will be ensured before the monsoon,” he said.
Meanwhile, the manual extracting of the filth from the drains has created problem for the residents as heap of garbage are left near the roadside after the cleanliness. Heaps of garbage could be seen at Nabha gate, Khalsa Mohalla, Ragho Majra and other areas of the city.
The irrigation department which is cleaning the open Jacob drain, too, is not clearing the extracted waste on time, thereby spreading stench.
SANITATION AFFECTED AS 200 CONTRACTUAL STAFF DO NOT JOIN
City’s sanitation has been affected as 200 contractual sweepers could not join work due to the recent protest by MC’s sweeper unions. These workers were hired through private contractor but after the push from the MC employees union to hire them through government hiring process, this has held up their joining.
As a result, the sanitation wing has been facing major shortage. Officials said they did not have sufficient manpower to depute sweepers on several beats, which certainly has affected both the road cleaning and garbage collection.