The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has finally drafted a proposal to extend the agreement with SWACH, the wastepickers’ co-operative, by five more years and granted them permission to charge Rs 50 per house per month instead of Rs 30 that they are currently charging for waste collection. This comes after a delay of two years. It has also proposed the formation of a committee, comprising the mayor and other office-bearers, to monitor the work by SWACH.
The SWACH is the first co-operative of wastepickers in the country, involved in door-to-door waste collection in civic areas. It has received praise from various organisations, but the PMC elected representatives have often criticised it, and so, the civic administration had been delaying the extension of the agreement.
In a proposal tabled in the standing committee, the civic administration has now sought permission to sign the agreement with SWACH. It has reframed the rules in the agreement and proposed a committee of elected representatives and experts to assess the work of SWACH and take up public complaints, once in every four months.
At present, there are 2,300 wastepickers affiliated to SWACH. They collect waste from the doorstep of 4.08 lakh properties in the city. The PMC had assured payment of Rs 8.89 crore to SWACH, but has paid Rs 4.59 crore, so far, as SWACH has not completed waste collection from the slum areas.
The PMC will pay Rs 3.22 crore to SWACH for various purposes and increase the amount by 5 per cent, every year, till the end of the contract.