As much as 74 per cent of municipal solid waste generated in cities and towns of Gujarat was dumped without any processing during five-year period of 2014-19 even as delays in approval of detailed project reports (DPRs) for municipal solid waste management has meant that only 22 per cent of funds earmarked for solid waste management (SWM) under the Swachh Bharat Mission are used so far, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Gujarat Assembly on Friday underlines.
Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) guidelines provide that each urban local body (ULB), in consultation with respective state governments, prepare DPRs on SWM for their respective jurisdictions. The CAG, while auditing the implementation of SWM Rules, 2016, for five-year period 2014-19, test-checked records of the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department, Mission Directorate (SBM-U) and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) at the state level. It also checked records of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), Jamnagar Municipal Corporation and 16 of the 162 municipalities including Anjar, Vapi, Veraval, Deesa, Dholka of the state.
The CAG report says that scrutiny of records of the 18 selected ULBs revealed that there had been inordinate delay in preparation and submission of DPRs to State-Level High Power Committee (SLHPC) for approval, the report notes.
While the DPRs of Ahmedabad and Jamnagar were approved by SLHPC in November, 2016 and May 2018 respectively, the DPRs of the 16 municipalities were approved by SLHPC only in March this year. “Audit observed that NPs (Nagarpalikas or municipalities) did not have the technical expertise to prepare the DPRS, and the State Mission Directorate issued detailed guidelines for preparation of DPRS to the ULBs belatedly in 2018-19. Furthermore, the DPRs had also undergone numerous revisions at times to include the left-out e equipment/machineries meant for processing wastes, leading to delay in approval of DPRS by SLHPC and consequent delay in implementation of SWM projects,” notes General Social Sector report of the CAG.
The report observes that due to delays in approval of the DRPs, it is highly unlikely that SWM projects approved by the SLPC would be completed by the end of the SBM-U in March 2021.
The delays in DPR approvals are leading to low utilisation of funds earmarked for SWM projects. “As of March 2020. SLHPC approved DPRs worth Rs 863.84 crore for implementation of various SWM projects in the 18 selected ULBs, of which, Rs 249 crore was received from GoI (Government of India) and State Government. However, due to delay in approval of DPRs, overall utilisation had been meagre Rs 54.61 crore (22 per cent),” the report records.
The report also says that GPCB does not have data of waste-generation and that ULBs are treating waste collected as waste generated. Moreover, the ULBs are able to treat only 26 per cent of MSW, while the remaining 76 per cent was dumped along with legacy waste at open dumpsites. “As regards, 18 selected ULBs, of the average 4,762.25 TDP (tonnes per day) waste collected during 2014-19; 1,195.19 TDP (25 per cent) was treated while the remaining 3,567/05 (75 per cent) was lying unprocessed at the dumpsites,” reads the report.
The CAG arrived at the figures of processed and unprocessed waste disposal by analysing information furnished by ULBs to GPCB through their annual reports. However, the CAG reported that as many as 106 ULBs didn’t submit their ARs to GPCB in 2017-18 and 90 in the previous year. In absence of submissions of ARs by ULBs, the GPCB filled the gap by using old waste collection data provided by defaulting ULBs.
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