F&CC defers agenda for purchasing manhole cleaning machines
Decisions on purchasing manhole-cleaning machines and of using recycled waste to beautify public spaces were deferred in a meeting held at the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s (MCG) office in Sector 34 on Thursday.
Both these matters were presented in the previous finance and contract committee (F&CC) meeting in July as well, and deferred even then.
A total of 11 agendas were tabled for discussion during the F&CC meeting, of which nine were approved.
Mayor Madhu Azad, who chaired the meeting, said councillors unanimously deferred both the matters as officials from the engineering wing had not submitted samples or given demonstrations to prove the effectiveness of the machines or flesh out their ideas for using recycled waste.
As per MCG officials, the agenda was to grant RS 1.1 crore to procure four manhole-cleaning machines. “While councillors are wary of the problems toxic gases cause to manual scavengers, officials of the engineering wing are yet to demonstrate the functioning of a machine to us, despite repeated requests. In addition, they have also not bothered to answer our queries on the amount of time the machines will take to clear a manhole, its capacity, operational costs and other such details. Hence, we did not approve this agenda,” Azad said.
In March, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar had announced that the MCG will be procuring a manhole-cleaning machine from a private company in Kerala. A month later, the MCG started using a Rs 32 lakh robot — Bandicoot 2.0 — on a trial basis.
MCG has over 700 sanitation workers who clean manholes across the city. Almost all of them are contractual workers and operate without basic safety equipment .
In April, two workers died while cleaning a septic tank of a private company in Narsinghpur, while in May last year, a 25-year-old sanitation worker died in Sector 9 after getting trapped in loose soil and inhaling toxic gases.
On the issue of using recycled waste to beautify the city, at a cost of a Rs 2.5 crore, Azad said that since MCG officials did not submit any samples, the respective agenda was not cleared.
“Engineering wing officials have so far only told us that they want to use recycled waste to beautify the city. They, however, have not explained to us the methods they want to incorporate the same, potential agencies that can execute such work, or displayed any samples. Since the engineering wing themselves isn’t clear with their agenda, we declined the same until there is clarity. We are certain that public funds are being used in the right direction,” Azad said.
Some of the agendas passed during the meeting include construction of roads in ward 23, boosting station and community centre in Darbaripur village, boosting station in Laxman Vihar and Tigra village, and badminton court in Fazilpur Jharsa.
“I was not present for the F&CC meeting, and will have to verify the issues raised by councillors. I will be only able to comment once I have been briefed by my staff members,” said Raman Sharma, chief engineer, MCG.