The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will be spending Rs 22 crore on the much publicised solid waste
management (SWM) project even though it went down the drain in 2011. Earlier in February this year, BMC announced
that Mumbai’s dustbins will soon be fitted with radio frequency interface devices (RFID) tags that will give
garbage collection squads information on which bins remain uncleared.
Ironically, a similar project was introduced by the corporation in the fiscal 2011-12 which officials confirmed had failed, resulting in a loss of Rs 7 crore the same year.
According to sources, the project failed after vendors associated with the project supplied faulty tags and GPS machines, for which they were also blacklisted the same year.
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The source said, “BMC has not taken into account any of the factors that led to the failure of the project and designed it with similar guidelines again. The project has also been handed over to consultants who do not understand the local needs of the city.” The source also confirmed that 11 of the RFID tags procured by the civic body has already been declared faulty.
The RFID project involves real-time monitoring of the civic body’s garbage vehicles. The project was also touted by Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte as the BMC’s first step towards creating a smart-city. Though initiated in the G/South ward as a pilot project, BMC plans to improve garbage management across the 24 wards in the next five months. Kunte had also committee that if this project is successful, other BMC vehicles like fire engines, ambulances etc will also be fitted with RFID tags.
Corporators have long alleged of corruption and pointed out at major discrepancies in the SWM department. Pravin Chheda, Congress corporator said, “The civic body has been deemed into a laboratory where officers keep experimenting with ideas without even realising the work done by the same department in the past. This is completely lack of planning on the administration’s side.”
A senior civic official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “It is true that the project had failed. The IT department did not function or deliver well the last time. However, we have tried to create an overhaul in the project and are expecting it to work well.” According to BMC, there are 1.983 garbage vehicles covering 4,000 collection points taking multiple trips in a day.