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Ghaziabad doorstep waste collection scheme leaves private garbage pickers jobless

Over 50 women private garbage collection agents handed over a memorandum to the officials at the district headquarters

noida Updated: Oct 25, 2017 22:57 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation,Ghaziabad,door-to-door solid waste collection scheme
There are 30-40 private garbage collection agents in each of the 100 municipal wards of Ghaziabad who collect garbage for a paltry sum of ₹50 a month. (HT Photo)

The new door-to-door solid waste collection scheme launched by the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) threatens the livelihood of hundreds of private garbage collection agents, mostly women, who were engaged by households to dispose the household waste every day.

Over 50 women private garbage collection agents arrived at the district headquarters on Tuesday and handed over a memorandum to the district officials. They said the new scheme will render them jobless and will affect their families.

For most of these women, collecting garbage is an inter-generational family trade and is the only source of income.

“I have been collecting garbage from households for past 35 years. I remember it fetched me ₹2 per month during the initial years. Now, we charge ₹50 per month for dumping garbage at the nearest collection centre. The corporation staff is now telling us to move out of areas they have started servicing with the new garbage collection vehicles,” said Dharam Wati, a private garbage collection agent who works in Lajpat Nagar.

On Sunday, the municipal corporation had flagged off 80 new hopper tipper vehicles for garbage collection. While the civic body would service 65 wards, the remaining 35 wards would be serviced by private agencies the GMC would engage.

The women estimate that there are 30-40 private garbage collection agents in each of the 100 municipal wards. These agents use carts and hand-held equipment to collect and dispose waste daily in an area of 3-4 square kilometers.

“We want our work back but no one is listening to us. My in-laws and even my son and daughter-in-law are engaged in the same work. The education of our grandchildren and our daily livelihood is dependent on our earning from this work. What options will we all be left with if we our work is taken away?” said Prakashi Devi, a private collection agent from Karhera.

District magistrate Ritu Maheshwari said the scheme has to be implemented and she will speak to the municipal commissioner if the existing private collectors can be roped in for other works.

However, the Ghaziabad municipal commissioner said there is little that can be done immediately. The corporation has roped in rag pickers and private garbage collectors in their scheme through three NGOs.

“Some 100 people, engaged with these NGOs, have been tasked to go along with our new vehicles for door-to-door garbage collection. These are the people who are registered with us. We may rope in some more people (private collection agents) but all of them cannot be accommodated. We may consider some alternate but it will take time,” Ghaziabad municipal commissioner CP Singh said.

Sources in the municipal corporation, however, allege some people operate a big nexus in the name of garbage collection. They take a share of the monthly earnings from private agents who operate in residential areas, sources said.

The city generates nearly 950 metric tonnes of solid waste every day.

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 22:55 IST