Door-to-door garbage collectors in Chandigarh threaten stir from October 23
Even as the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) has spent ₹30 crore to buy 390 more garbage collection trucks, it is still unlikely to meet the October-31 deadline set by a green tribunal panel to start segregated door-to-door garbage collection in all wards.
The MC faces opposition from garbage collectors, who have threatened to go on a strike from October 23 and said they would not allow plying of new vehicles. The opposition is against the MC taking over the garbage collection through the trucks, which is being currently undertaken by the collectors in their private carts. “We will launch a stir and stop both door-to-door garbage collection as well as sanitation works from October 23 unless our demands are met,” said Krishan Kumar Chadda, president, Safai Karamchari Union.
MC, which currently has 100 vehicles, will receive 200 more vehicles this month, but still would not be able to cover all the wards for collecting segregated solid waste.
A panel setup by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had recently directed the MC to fully implement the segregation of the door-to-door collected solid waste by October 31. It had also directed the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) to submit a compliance report on the issue.
NGT had early this year directed the civic body to ensure 100% waste segregation in the city by June 2020. However, due to Covid-19 crisis , it couldn’t be implemented.
In October last year, the MC had made waste segregation mandatory in the city. But, segregation didn’t take off with both garbage collectors and residents failing to comply with the rules. Its earlier attempts at the segregated waste collection in 2017 and 2018 had also failed.
Notably, Chandigarh even couldn’t grab a spot on the list of top-10 cities in the Swachh Survekshan 2020 rankings mainly because of poor waste management.
“The MC has not signed a memorandum of understanding with us as promised. We have been demanding that MC should allow us to collect the user charges from people as well as earn from the sale of the reusable items in the collected solid waste. But, even though the MC general house has passed a resolution to this effect, the corporation is yet to commit it in writing,” said Om Prakash Saini, president of the Chandigarh Door to Door Garbage Collectors’ Society.
MC is insisting on collecting the user charges through residents’ water bills or property tax bills. “Instead, it is stating that it will collect user charges and also pay partially from the earnings of the reusable solid waste items. This will adversely impact our income,” he added.
The door-to-door garbage collectors will be joined by the Safai Karamchari Union in the indefinite strike.
“The MC should stick to its promises and allow the garbage collectors to continue with their work as they are currently doing. These new vehicles can’t even enter the narrow and congested lanes of the villages,” said Krishan Kumar Chadda.
Meanwhile, MC commissioner KK Yadav said, “We are acting as per the resolution passed by the general house. The resolution was taken up only after the collectors reached an agreement with the MC on the issue. The MC will also pay the collectors both from the user charges and from the earnings of reusable solid waste items. If there are still any differences, the MC committee on sanitation will take up the matter with the collectors.”
Former mayor and current chairman of MC Sanitation Committee, Rajesh Kalia, said, “We have already accepted their demands. Nobody will lose their earnings. We only want to organise and streamline the entire garbage collection process in a better way. We will be meeting them and clarifying all the issues. It is only few political motivated people who are creating such hurdles.”