The parliamentary standing committee for urban development has given a thumbs-up to the SWACH workers’ cooperative for its door-to-door waste collection initiative, which it carries out within the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) jurisdiction. The committee also plans to recommend that the cooperative be included in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The panel, led by its chairperson Pinaki Misra, is in the city on a two-day visit to review ongoing development projects, especially infrastructure projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The 20-member committee will further visit Mumbai, Puri and Bhubaneswar.
“The PMC, while giving its review on the work done for solid waste management, also informed the committee about the SWACH contribution. This impressed the committee and the representatives of SWACH were invited to make a presentation to understand it in detail,” said a civic officer.
After the panel was shown how the SWACH intiative is self-sustaining in nature and relies on public involvement, its members said that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched by the Prime Minister, which also aims to focus on cleanliness with public participation, would benefit from contribution by the SWACH model in Pune.
“We made a detailed presentation before the committee and the members were impressed by the work done. They hoped similar efforts will be implemented in cities across the country,” said Lakshmi Narayanan, governing body member of SWACH.
The committee members were of the opinion that the initiative should not remain only for one city but should be replicated all over the country, she added.
The SWACH initiative started in 2007 when waste pickers in Pune came together to establish it.
It enabled their transition from waste pickers to service providers, with 2,300 members carrying out door-to-door waste collection services to four lakh households in the city at an average fee of Rs 30 per month.
The PMC in 2008 reached a five-year agreement with SWACH for the door-to-door service.
According to the agreement, the PMC was to provide infrastructure, management costs, equipment, safety gear and welfare benefits to SWACH members. The agreement has not been extended further but the model has been self-sustaining, with SWACH performing its service as usual.
Meanwhile, the PMC administration has been asked to make a brief note of the SWACH work in solid waste management of the city so that it could be forwarded to the Prime Minister for the panel’s recommendation.