Bengaluru: Goodbye garbage mafia? BBMP to float ward-level contracts

Bengaluru: Garbage contractors, who were calling the shots and holding the city to ransom, are all set to become a thing of the past as the BBMP will soon call for tenders for garbage collection at ward level.

Under the present setup, contractors take care of manpower and vehicles needed to collect garbage. "As garbage contractors work in connivance with officials and politicians, it becomes difficult to prove their illegalities. For example, during our inspection, if we find only a handful of workers on the ground and question about the others, who are getting paid as per records, contractors easily give the excuse that they are working in other wards,” said a BBMP official.

“Further, of the 500 garbage trucks, we found only 400 working, but payments were being released at Rs 1.5 lakh per month for the 100 'ghost' trucks. During one of our inspections, we found that of the 5,000 autos, only 1,500 were plying. Autos are paid Rs 30,000 per month,” the official said and added that the civic body is losing crores of rupees to these ghost workers and vehicles.

“Moreover, garbage too was not being collected properly. Contracts have been given in packages by clubbing wards. This easily allows them to inflate the numbers of contract workers and the machinery, like tippers and autos, used to collect and transport garbage. With the ward level garbage contract, we are aiming to do away with ghost workers and machinery and streamline collection,” said Mayor Gangambike.

“A crucial meeting has been called on October 23, to be chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Dr G. Parameshwar, to finalise tender norms before we get it approved from the council and invite tenders,” she said.

Asked what if all the contractors boycotted the tenders, she said, “If local contractors do not agree to the new tender norms and wish to boycott the tender process, we will call for global tenders.”

But solid waste management expert Ramakanth felt that ward level garbage contracts will not be of much help. “Contracts will go into the hands of the near and dear ones of the influential and the same system might continue. New models can be explored to solve this once and for all. Cooperatives led by pourakarmikas and self-help groups should be handed over the job to prevent corruption and inflation in the number of men and vehicles.”

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