GMC fails to keep Guwahati clean despite 58 NGOs at work for 1 year
GUWAHATI: Even after one year (from September 2017) of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) engaging 58 non government organisations (NGOs) for collecting garbage from its 31 wards, the city is far from fulfilling the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat.
Guwahati dropped to 207th position in 2018 from 134th in 2017. Guwahati was ranked 58th in 2016 in Swachh Bharat Survekshan.
Even now the residents of Guwahati are upset with GMC for not being able to keep the city clean; recently it has been observed that GMC has failed to collect garbage on time from many pockets of the city.
A resident of Kharguli said, “There is always a huge mound of garbage at the entrance of Dr Bhupen Hazarika Path and the GMC clearly has not been collecting the garbage.”
Similarly, the SRCB Road in Fancy Bazar faces the same problem. The Volvo Point at Ulubari is a place which has virtually acquired a permanent stink because the residents of the area throw garbage near the point and it is cleared by the GMC workers intermittently every week.
Reacting to the allegations, GMC executive engineer, Manojit Bujarbaruah said, “We know that these places are facing this problem and we are purposely doing it so that the public can understand that these places are not for dumping garbage.”
He revealed that the idea is to make the city bin-free and the households and commercial establishments are expected to give the garbage to the NGOs and not dump it on the roadsides.
Another source from GMC said that the local body even carried out a number of campaigns to make the public understand that garbage should not be dumped on roadsides but people continue to discard their garbage on roadsides. Talking particularly about Kharguli, the source said, “The entrance of Kharguli is not a garbage dumping place.”
It needs to be mentioned that previously there were 200 bins in Guwahati but now there are only 130 bins. GMC officials claim that the NGOs, after collecting the garbage, are expected to dump the garbage at the designated transfer stations (there are 2 such stations across Guwahati), or in the designated dustbins.
NGOs fail to collect garbage regularly
Even after the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) engaging 58 non government organisations (NGOs) to collect garbage from its 31 wards since September 2017, the citizens of some wards complained that garbage collection is not regular and the scenario is deteriorating.
“It’s been around two months that the NGO workers did not visit our locality to collect garbage,” said Dipali Das, a resident of Ujjol Path, Jyotikuchi adding that earlier the NGO workers used to collect garbage from the Jyotikuchi area once every four days.
Similarly, a resident of Rupnagar said that the NGO workers visit their locality only once in three days and sometimes they do not show up for as long as a week.
Even residents of prominent areas like Kharguli, Uzan Bazar, Six Mile, Maligaon and many more complained about the same problem.
After Ramky (company which used to collect garbage door-to-door in Guwahati before June 2014), GMC had hired 31 NGOs to collect garbage from door-to-door from July 2014. This contract agreement ended in June 2017 after which 58 NGOs were hired through transparent tendering process, claimed a GMC official.
Explaining why 58 NGOs were hired this time, a senior GMC official said, “There are some wards which cover a huge area and it is difficult for a single NGO to cover all the households in that ward.” Adding that the smaller wards have one NGO now and some wards are divided into two and some into three parts, the NGOs hired in September are covering the wards accordingly.
Citing an example the official explained that ward number 6 covers areas from Deepor Beel to Lokhra. So, the area being vast there are three NGOs engaged to collect garbage in that ward.
But the initiative does not look to have worked completely and the residents are unhappy with GMC.
GMC not serious about garbage collection: NGOs
The onus may be on the 58 non government organisations (NGOs) for collecting garbage door-to-door regularly but many NGOs are of the view that Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is not serious about the work.
An NGO member, among the 58 NGOs, talking to G Plus in anonymity said, “We are not getting our payments regularly from GMC, so it is affecting the garbage collection process.”
He revealed that the workers working with the NGOs have to be paid on daily wage basis and because the bills are not cleared by GMC regularly the workers tend to abstain from work.
The door-to-door garbage collection process was unsuccessful till July 2017 because the system was not self-sustainable and GMC had to spend Rs 30 lakhs from its own pocket, revealed a source from GMC.
A GMC source said, “Ramky left because it was not able to generate revenue. Similarly, the 31 NGOs were also not able to make any profit because most Guwahati households do not want to pay for garbage collection,” adding that GMC lost Rs 30 lakhs every month on the project.
GMC generates Rs 5 crores to Rs 6 crores as revenue from various taxes and the same is used to pay salaries to all the employees and initiate new projects. The state government is not providing any extra funds since years, a GMC source claimed.
The NGOs are expected to generate revenue for the urban local body by collecting the monthly garbage collection fees. The expectation still prevails. But public do not pay, claimed a source in one of the 58 NGOs.
With the ongoing situation the garbage collection process looks like a failure and a solution does not seem to be in sight.