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Saturday, February 27, 2021

With waste collectors & MC at loggerheads, Chandigarh residents fear two claims for user charges

As the municipal corporation recently announced that it will be collecting user charges for waste collection in January, the residents doubt that there will be two parties claiming for user charges for waste collection.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
January 15, 2021 5:00:37 am
Ahead of Swachh Survekshan survey, Chandigarh gets 75 new twin bin hoppersIn Sector 22, both, MC vehicles and informal waste collectors have been coming parallelly to collect the waste. (File/Representational)

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation’s new waste collection system that took off in sectors 1 to 30 last month, has remained marred with glitches — one of the major ones arising from the contentions between the independent waste collectors and the civic body. With the two parties still at loggerheads, independent waste collectors continue to pick up waste from the same locality as the MC’s vehicles — leading to immense confusion among the residents.

As the municipal corporation recently announced that it will be collecting user charges for waste collection in January, the residents doubt that there will be two parties claiming for user charges for waste collection.

In Sector 22, both, MC vehicles and informal waste collectors have been coming parallelly to collect the waste. However, as the civic body helpers do not come to come to the doorstep to collect the waste, residents prefer giving the waste to informal waste collectors– as in many other sectors.

“It is like being served on first-come first-served basis. Informal waste collectors have yet not been integrated into the system and most of the times they collect the waste even before the arrival of the MC vehicles. In many private houses, MC helpers do not go to the upper floors for waste pickup, as it was being done earlier,” said Jagrup Singh, Adviser, Government Houses RWS, Sector 22.

Sector 8 Residents Welfare Association President RS Gill said, “The new system is only half successful till now.” He added, “Vehicles are coming with new set of helpers. To make the system successful, MC should quickly absorb the same informal waste collectors who have been working and serving us for decades, as they are well conversant with the system and the residents. Private waste collectors have already started collecting January charges from many of the households.”

Now, the city residents are concerned that they may need to pay user charges to both the informal waste collectors and the MC.

Dr Madhurima Sharma, a Resident of Sector 16, said that even though MC vehicles have been coming regularly to her locality, the authorities must ensure that the system is hassle-free. She said that the MC workers have been asking the residents to climb down the stairs to dispose of waste, which causes inconvenience. “New helpers are asking residents to climb down to leave/deliver garbage at entrance of their houses. New system is good but it should be hassle free,” she added.

Ashok Kumar, President of Sector 7 Residents Welfare Association said that the MC’s waste collection system is marred with confusion. “As both informal collectors and MC helpers are coming to collect waste separately, it is adding confusion into the minds of the residents. The corporation should resolve its issues with the informal waste collectors.”

In Sector 30, residents said that it is the informal waste collectors who collect the waste. “MC vehicles are rarely seen here. They are yet to start service in most of the sectors. Waste is being picked up by informal waste collectors,” said Tirath Rai, President, Sector 30 RWA. Rai’s statement resonates across several RWAs’ representatives in the city.

“The MC helpers do not wait for sufficient time and nor do they go upstairs to pickup waste. In many clusters, waste is being picked up by informal waste collectors,” said SS Lehri, President, Sector 24 RWA.

Even as the MC twin-bin hopper tippers park themselves in some localities of sectors 18 and 24 and ask residents to come out and dispose of waste, through a public address system, residents have been giving their waste to informal collectors.

Pointing at irregularities, President of Sector 18 RWA Naresh Batra said, “Neither MC vehicles are visible nor promotional voice recording is being heard for the last few days. MC vehicle seem to be doing a mock service only. Waste is being picked regularly by the earlier informal waste collector in most of the sectors.”

“There are still many loose ends. We have suggested the new Mayor to convene a meeting of MC officials and leaders of informal waste collectors, along with some RWAs representatives, to resolve the pending issues across the table, without much delay and to the satisfaction of all stake holders,” said Vinod Vashisht, Convener, City Forum of Residents Welfare Organisations (CFORWO).

On December 23, the Municipal Corporation commenced the collection of waste from sectors 1 to 30. Although the civic body had planned to start the same in southern sectors as well, from January 1– they eventually decided to streamline the task in the northern sectors first.

Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla said that the initiative has been started in a half-hearted way. “There is absolutely no coordination. The MC is not bothered,” he said.

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