Implementation of the comprehensive Solid Waste Management (SWM) project in the twin cities will be delayed by a month and now it is expected to be launched by March 15. Earlier, the Hubballi-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) authorities had promised to implement it in February.
"Due to the delay caused by technical and tender process, including the procedures of the Directorate of Municipal Administration (DMA), we cannot launch the project on January 26 as planned earlier. Door-to-door waste collection through auto tippers would begin by March 15, and by then, the HDMC will put an end to contract cleaning system and would pay the wages directly to contract cleaning workers," HDMC Commissioner Maj (retd) Siddhalingayya Hiremath said.
When corporators expressed discontent regarding the cleaning works, after Veeranna Saavadi of BJP moved a call attention motion in the HDMC general body meeting held here on Monday, Mr Hiremath noted that a task force would also be formed to supervise the implementation of the new SWM system.
After getting the administrative approval to purchase 117 auto tippers, tender process is almost completed. Work orders would be issued within a couple of days, and auto tippers would be delivered to the HDMC by February end. Work orders are already issued to purchase compactors and to start civil works, while the tender is finalised for bio-mining and compost plants also, Mr Hiremath explained.
Steps are also being taken to pay the wages directly to the contract cleaning workers, instead of the contract cleaning system, from March, he added.
Ganesh Tagargunti of Congress lamented that officials are not supervising cleaning works, while contractors are not working as their contract is going to end soon.
HDMC Commissioner Siddhalingaya Hiremath informed that meeting that around 2,100 retired employees of the HDMC are drawing their pension from the treasury itself, while efforts are being made to get Rs 21 crore pending pension grants of 2017 from the government and the proposal is with the DMA.
When Mr Savadi noted that tender process for Rs 35 lakh ward fund for each ward has not yet been started, Mr Hiremath stated that it was staggered due to fund crunch, and the process would begin shortly.
When the issue of lack of development at village areas in HDMC limits was raised, Mr Hiremath noted that tax collection in those areas is 20% only, and a few corporators opposed this.
It was decided to hold a meeting of all party leaders, to discuss about new SWM project implementation, ward fund, budget implementation and stray dog menace.
Ganesh Tagargunti lamented that areas in Old Hubballi are getting drinking water supply once in 10 or 12 days, while Baseer Ahmed Gudamal noted that some areas are getting drinking water mixed with sewage water.
Karnataka Water Board officials noted that water is being supplied once in seven to nine days, while damage to water pipeline due to digging works by other agencies caused further delay on some occasions. Mr Tagargunti threatened that water being supplied to 24X7 water supply zones would be diverted to other wards, if delay in water supply is not rectified soon.
Water board officials also informed that Rs 24 crore proposal to increase bulk water supply from Malaprabha reservoic is with the Finance Department, and administrative approval is awaited.
When P K Rayanagoudra charged that drinking water is being sold at the water tank at Nrupatunga Betta, Mayor D K Chavan directed the HDMC commissioner to conduct a probe fast and to take action against the guilty.