MC panel says using more than once a day not feasible
The Sanitation Committee of the Municipal Corporation had a peculiar problem to handle. It was asked to decide if using the mechanised sweeping machines once a day was causing losses due to underutilisation and whether they should be used more frequently.
And the committee has said that using the machines more than once a day would lead to heavy expenditure, and has termed it unfeasible.
The three mechanised sweeping machines that were purchased in 2008 have been money guzzlers. The machines were purchased at a cost of Rs 5.42 crore. Till March this year,an amount of Rs 73.58 lakh has been paid to the company,from which machines were purchased,for maintenance. Apart from this,an additional Rs 50.58 lakh has been spent on purchasing consumable parts of the machines over the past four years.
It was after a hue and cry was raised by the councillors over the sweeping machines not being fully utilised that the officials proposed that these could be used three times a day. This implies that instead of being used for eight hours a day,the machines were to be used round the clock in three shifts. The proposal was presented before the committee.
As per the MC officials,a large sweeping machine can clean 56 kilometres of road in a shift of eight hours at a cost of Rs 17,367 that includes the cost of depreciation of machine,consumables,spare part and salary of driver.
Deputy Mayor Satish Kainth,who is a member of the committee,says,Using the machines round the clock would have increased the MC expenditure. The brooms installed in the machines are very expensive and wear off fast. Recently,an amount of Rs 6.73 lakh was passed for purchasing the brooms for a year. The machines are used only in certain sectors and cannot be used everywhere. Even if they are plied round the clock,the sweeping would be in the same sectors.
The utility of the sweeping machines has been questioned ever since these were purchased. Officials of the civic body,including former joint commissioner H S Kandhola and Medical Officer of Health Dr G C Bansal,went to Italy to inspect these machines.
Former councillor Dr A P Sanwaria,who was then the chairman of the Sanitation Committee,lamented that the machines purchased were not what had been described. He had also alleged that councillors had been kept out of the loop. A demand for a vigilance inquiry into the issue had earlier been raised.
Present chairman of the Sanitation Committee H C Kalyan says,The machines are white elephants purchased by the MC. Instead of completely dumping them,these are being used once a day. However,using these more than once is not feasible due to the cost involved. The committee has rejected the proposal.