In some places, garbage has not been picked up since January 1. (Keshav Singh/HT)
In some places, garbage has not been picked up since January 1. (Keshav Singh/HT)

That stinking feeling: Chandigarh residents suffer as waste piles up again

Waste collectors are miffed over MC’s takeover of garbage collection in Sectors 1 to 30; resolution expected at meeting on Friday
By Rajanbir Singh and Munieshwer A Sagar, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 22, 2021 12:51 AM IST

Residents are once again at the receiving end of the tussle between the informal door-to-door garbage collectors and the municipal corporation.

Miffed over MC taking over garbage collection in Sectors 1 to 30, informal cart-based collectors have stopped picking up garbage from houses in other sectors, causing waste to pile up in homes and on roads.

This, despite Citizen Feedback component of the Swachh Survekshan 2021 under way from January 1 to March 31 – a crucial factor in deciding the city’s ranking in the survey.

Chandigarh’s urban and rural areas generate about 450 million tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day.

Residents of several southern sectors report that garbage hasn’t been picked up for the past four days, while a section of the garbage collectors claims that they have been on strike since January 1.

In Sector 45, residents were forced to pool in money to hire private trolleys to collect the waste, said RWA president Sanjeev Bansal.

“Instead of meeting RWAs, MC needs to hold talks with the garbage collectors to resolve the impasse,” said convener of the City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations, Vinod Vashisht.

To make matters worse, MC is planning to close down the Sehaj Safai Kendras, leaving residents worried over where to dump the waste if the collectors don’t return soon.

“We have written a letter to the UT adviser raising our objection to MC’s move,” said Rajat Malhotra, general secretary of the Chandigarh Residents Association Welfare Federation.

BONE OF CONTENTION

Pressing into service more than 100 new garbage collection vehicles, MC took over door-to-door garbage collection in Sectors 1 to 30 on December 23 last year.

Even though some garbage collectors joined MC’s initiative as helpers, others are up in arms against the takeover.

“Most of the garbage collectors have been on strike since January 1. MC took over garbage collection without our consent, assaulting livelihood of the poor. Why should MC collect user charges when we have been collecting garbage for all these years? We appeal to residents to support our cause,” said Shamsher Lotiya, president of the local unit of the Akhil Bhartiya Mazdor Sangathan.

DIVIDED HOUSE

Meanwhile, another section of garbage collectors contends work should continue despite differences with MC.

Om Prakash Saini, president of the Chandigarh Door-to-Door Garbage Collectors’ Society, said, “We are in favour of MC collecting garbage and giving us user charges collected through water bills. Most of the issues have been sorted out and the rest will be taken up in a meeting with MC officials on Friday.”

Chandigarh mayor Ravikant Sharma said he was certain that the issued will be resolved in the meeting scheduled on Friday and the protest will be called off.

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