'Lack supervisors for 14,000 cleaners'

East Delhi Muncipal Corporation commissioner S S Yadav says trash from roadside garbage dumps is now being sent quicker to landfills, but admits more needs to be done about making sure that city streets are swept regularly. Excerpts from an interview with Vishal Kant:   

One of the basic responsibilities of the municipal bodies is maintaining cleanliness and keeping residential colonies garbage-free. However, complaints of streets littered with garbage and irregular lifting of garbage from the dumps are very common.

The garbage disposal process is broadly divided into two parts. One is street-sweeping and transporting the garbage to the dhalao (garbage dump), the other is lifting of garbage from dhalaos to landfill sites.

While there are some issues related to regular street-sweeping, there has been a considerable improvement in the mechanism to lift garbage from dhalaos to the landfill in Ghazipur over the last three or four months.

What are the bottlenecks in improving street-sweeping and what special measures the corporation has taken in improving the garbage-lifting process?

While we have around 14,000 safai karmacharis, the problem is lack of staff at the supervisory level. Several posts at the ranks of sanitary inspector and assistant sanitary inspector are vacant.

We have requested the Delhi staff selection board to fill the vacancies at the earliest. However, we have taken some other measures which have improved the mechanism of lifting garbage from the dhalaos. We have increased the number of vehicles lifting garbage, number of drivers, and have also increased the rate offered to private trucks hired for the purpose. This has helped in increasing the number of trips to the landfill site from 350 trips to 450-500 trips per day. It has increased the total volume of garbage being lifted per day by around 500 tonnes.

Landfill sites in the city themselves have their own set of problems. While they are running beyond their capacity, they also have the problem that all kind of waste is dumped in them. There have been proposals in the past of reclaiming the landfill site in Ghazipur. How much headway has been there on that front?

The process of reclamation has its own set of problems. The reclamation process would leave back around 30-40 per cent of inert material. An alternate landfill site would be required to dump the inert material.

However, we are coming up with an automated waste processing plant and a waste-to-energy plant in partnership with private players. It would help us in both segregating the waste of different nature from the garbage, as well as producing energy from the waste. While the processing plant is all set to become operational by December this year, the energy plant would become operational by the end of 2013.

Civic agencies have been asked to ensure that ragpickers are included in their waste management programme to secure their livelihood options. How is the EDMC planning to do this?

We are working on those lines and are planning to implement a training programme in eight or ten colonies on a pilot basis very soon. We intend to train  waste collectors in collecting all kind of waste. NGO Chintan has been roped in for the purpose. We have already had three or four meetings with them. The nuances of the programme would be finalised soon.

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