The solid waste management project, which has been delayed inordinately under stiff opposition by the sweepers union, could start in the city soon as the JITF Ecopolis, the company which has been allotted the project, has shown interest to start the second phase of the project, ie carrying the garbage from dumps in the city to the dumping site at Waryana village.
A letter of intent in this regard has been written by the company to the corporation and the company sources revealed that the local bodies authorities have given them, in principle, the green signal to go ahead.
Sweepers had been at loggerheads with the administration over the door-to-door collection of garbage citing it as the project as a threat to jobs of many of them. They had gone on strike twice to protest against the project.
To end the strike on both occasions, MC officials had given the assurance to the agitators that the project would not be launched without taking them into confidence.
The project was supposed to be implemented in phases. In the first phase of door-to-door collection of garbage, garbage was to be taken from bins from houses to garbage dumping points in GPS- enabled vehicles. For this, the company would collect money from the consumers directly.
In the second phase, garbage was to be lifted from dumps in mohallas and taken to garbage dumping site and the municipal corporation was to pay `315 per tonne as tipping charges to the company.
"Seeing the resentment of the union leaders, we have proposed to the MC officials that we can proceed with the second phase which does not clash with the interests of the sweepers by any means. This is the phased start of the project and with the passage of time, we are hopeful that the civic body officials would succeed in convincing the agitators regarding the need of the project," said Satish Sharma, assistant general manager of the company.
Shiromani Akali Dal leaders are seeing this project as only life-saving project for the ruling alliance in the forthcoming parliamentary elections as poor performance of the corporation on several fronts has harmed the image of the alliance.
"There is dire need of the project in the city and if it is launched before parliamentary elections, it would certainly be go in our favour otherwise, the party will have to suffer a lot due to MC's failure," said a SAD councillor, on the condition of anonymity.
Municipal commissioner Manpreet Singh Chattwal was not available for comments. Chief parliamentary secretary KD Bhandari, who has been coordinating with the agitators and was instrumental in calling off the strike both the times, when contacted, said, "We also want that this project takes a start but we wish to find an amicable solution. We are in touch with leaders of the workers' union and very soon, we can see a positive outcome."
Myth 1: The project will render sweepers unemployed.
Company official: It is just a misconception. Our scope of work does not clash with sweepers. They do not perform door-to-door garbage collection. Sweepers are performing cleaning duty only. The main vehicles and associated staff, which were being used to carry garbage to dumping sites will, however, be free but they would be used by the MC for horticulture or some other works. On the other hand, we would generate secure and well-paid employment opportunities for several people, including those, who were already working.
Myth 2: Municipal corporation has to pay heavy amount per month to the contractor as tipping fee, thus adding to the financial burden.
MC official: The amount to be paid to the contractor would be adjusted against the diesel bill, which we are already paying for filling fuel in garbage-collecting vehicles. There would be no additional burden on the corporation exchequer. Rather the citizens would get neat and clean city to live.
· Garbage would be treated and reduced to just 25%
· Scientific handling would produce useful outputs from the waste
· No roadside eyesore garbage dumps
· Clean environment
· Problem of shortage of land for dumping the
· Cleaner look to the city
· Convenience to the people