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Sunday, August 01, 2021

In Chandigarh, sweeping, cleaning alone costs Rs 210 crore annually

The surmounting expense is one of the major reasons for the growing demand to switch to GIS-based mechanised sweeping in the northern belt of the City beautiful.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
July 9, 2021 2:56:39 am
While the civic body officials have already decided to not offer extension to the company which has been carrying out mechanised sweeping in the city's southern belt. (File)

Chandigarh spends a whopping Rs 210 crore annually to keep its lanes tidy— with a majority of this sum making up the salaries of sweepers and other related staff.

The surmounting expense is one of the major reasons for the growing demand to switch to GIS-based mechanised sweeping in the northern belt of the City beautiful. The practice of mechanised sweeping was introduced in the southern belt of the city in 2016.

Speaking on the matter, Municipal Corporation Commissioner KK Yadav said that the huge amount of Rs 210 crore is spent mostly on the salaries of sweepers and other staffers, besides other minor expenses. “Introducing mechanised sweeping in the northern belt also won’t cost us this much as it is costing us right now, if we compare. We have got this proposal from the councillors as well to replicate the system we have in southern sectors in the northern belt as well,” said Commissioner Yadav.

He added, “We will be bringing this agenda in the general house meeting in July. As far as the staff is concerned, there are a total of 2,300 sweepers, of which it has been informed that only 700 are regular, whereas the rest of them are all on outsourcing. We can still depute the regular staff, those on outsourcing remain absent as well. In any case, the matter will be discussed at length in the next general house meeting,” Commissioner Yadav said.

Mechanised weeping was started in 2016 in Southern belt

A firm named Lion Services Ltd has been undertaking mechanised sweeping in the southern belt for Rs 4.5 crore a month. The firm had sought an extension of three years, following the lapse of the contract, however, a committee of the civic body recommended against it.

In the previous house meeting, although some BJP councillors were in favour of extending the contract, few including the Congress party councillors said that new companies should be given an opportunity as there may be new technologies also that must have come during this period.

While the civic body officials have already decided to not offer extension to the company which has been carrying out mechanised sweeping in the city’s southern belt. A fresh tender will be floated in this regard. The officials had also recommended that the same be done for the northern belt as well.

Firm incharge of southern belt

In 2016, the House had considered and resolved for implementation of GIS-based Mechanised and Manual Sweeping of Selected Roads in Chandigarh, including all sectors, villages and colonies existing beyond Dakshin Marg towards South. The contract for the same was awarded to Lion Services Ltd.

The firm had started the work of mechanical sweeping and manual sweeping from December 1, 2016, however, since the company had started work on a short notice, it undertook mechanical work of 63.7 kms of the total allotted 179.8 kms of road length in Phase 1. Further, on January 31, 2017, the firm took over the complete sanctioned 179.8 kms of length for mechanical sweeping. The work for manual sweeping was completely taken over for the entire stretch of 340 kms of road.

On March 23, 2021, Lion Services Ltd submitted a request to extend the said contract for another three years on the existing rates and terms and conditions of the agreement. The company had also attached satisfactory performance certificates/appreciation letters from resident welfare association, market associations and elected representatives with its plea.

Subsequently, a committee under the chairmanship of Joint CMC was constituted and Chief Engineer, MCC, submitted that the contract of Lions Services was allotted in 2016, after which various new machinery and techniques have come in the market which may be explored through fresh allotment of contract.

Chief Accounts Officer submitted that the present contract was signed in 2016, when only two firms participated and the contract was allotted to Lion Services ltd. Since then numerous other firms have come in the market, therefore, to enable healthy competition and encouragement among the new firms, fresh allotment should be made.

After deliberate discussion, the committee unanimously resolved that the contract period of Lion Services Ltd should not be extended and the contract be allotted afresh. It was during this discussion that the councillors said that a similar system should prevail in the northern sectors also.

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