In a departure from tradition, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) Wednesday passed a proposal that allows the civic body to levy a “user charge” on residential and commercial establishments for door-to-door garbage collection.
Though the SDMC said it does not propose to levy this charge at the moment, it maintained that “in the future, SDMC may levy a user charge for providing door-to-door collection services”. It is learnt that the corporation is considering levying this charge on commercial establishments to begin with.
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As per the proposal document, “the concessionaire shall be required to collect prescribed charges” from these establishments.
But the move was met opposition within the standing committee, with BJP’s Ashish Sood questioning such a charge and saying that “the collection of waste is an obligatory function of the municipal corporation”.
Although officials emphasised that the charge will not come into effect “at this stage”, the passing of the amendment to its policy document allows the corporation to levy such a charge on the public through its concessionaire in the future. This charge could be as high as Rs 3,000 a month to Rs 1,000 per visit.
The amendment comes after the call of tender failed five times and the department did not get any bids for award of work in its South and East zones. The sixth notice inviting tender (NIT) was floated in July this year for integrated collection and transportation of municipal waste and street sweeping waste. “However, after opening of technical bids in August 2016, the department received various complaints against bidders,” an official said.
Subsequently, the bid was annulled and the finance department suggested an amendment to the contract document “to support maximum participation and healthy competition and simultaneously to find out the right contractor firm”. The move was approved and the tender document amended after consultation with the Chief Law Officer and the Additional Solicitor General.
Leader of the House Subhash Arya said that a charge like this had been proposed earlier as well, but it was rejected by the standing committee. “This has been re-introduced at the 11th hour to make the bid competitive but it is not likely to be implemented,” Arya said.