Overflowing garbage bins were a common sight in the City Beautiful on a day when a swachhata campaign was kicked off in Chandigarh on Saturday. This as the independent garbage collectors of Chandigarh refused to budge even a day after the municipal corporation (MC) announced that it would give jobs to them after taking over waste collection in the city.
As many as 1,437 independent garbage collectors have been protesting the MC’s agenda for the last five days, even before it decided on Friday to take over door-to-door waste collection in the city.
On Saturday, the officials of the MC had an informal meeting to decide the next course of action.
Senior officials decided that they will offer jobs to the 1,437 independent garbage collectors on first-come, first-served basis.
“We will announce a particular time period. Those who come forward will be given the jobs and taken under the MC,” a senior official said.
The officials also chalked out an alternate plan to deal with the union of garbage collectors, which the MC said, basically comprised of contractors exploiting the genuine ones.
”With the MC’s decision, it is the contractors who are basically being affected because they have lion’s share in operating this garbage-collection business. And now, if the MC takes over, they won’t be able to mint money from these poor people. We are in talks with the senior officers of police as well,” the official said.
Congress councillor Ravinder Gujral had told the General House on Friday that a collector told her that he got this work for Rs 1.35 lakh from a contractor.
Other councillors also subsequently added that genuine garbage collectors would be happy with the decision of being recruited by the MC, but it was the union which was getting affected.
Jai Kishan Dula, president of the garbage collectors’ union, threatened to stop work at the processing plant in Dadumajra from Monday.
He told Chandigarh Newsline that they will assemble on Sunday for a meeting and chalk out the next plan of action.
“From Monday, when the working days start, we will intensify the protest. We are thinking of not letting any work done at the garbage processing plant in Dadumajra first and simultaneously, other moves will be initiated,” Dula told Chandigarh Newsline.
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation on Friday decided to take over door-to-door waste collection in the city with the help of 39 twin-bin hopper tippers, which would take the waste directly from houses to the processing plant. Charges of garbage collection will be added to the water bills of residents, the corporation has decided.
The decision of taking over the waste collection was taken as the House discussed that it was the only way to implement segregation.
Councillor Rajesh Kalia, representing the independent garbage collectors, had warned the General House that it was taking a wrong decision.
It will take the MC around two months to launch this service and the tippers will cost around Rs 2.72 crore. Each tipper will be manned by a driver and a garbage collector.
Chandigarh generates 540 metric tonnes of waste on a daily basis, of which 90 tonnes are of construction and demolition, a plant dedicated to which is likely to become functional soon.