The multi-crore garbage lifting work doled out to a private agency by the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) is once again drawing flak for flouting solid waste management (SWM) rules while enhancing the risk of spreading the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, as tonnes of garbage is daily transported in open trucks that merrily litter trash on the roads while on their way to the dumping yard in Uttan.
Notably, the fine of Rs. 4.64 lakh that was slapped on the de-silting contractor for not providing protective gear to the conservancy workers, has failed to instill a sense in the minds of the private agency as garbage collectors can be seen handling the filth with bare hands, some not even wearing masks.
This clearly shows that the officials attached to the sanitation wing are least interested in complying with basic SWM rules.
This comes at a time when the MBMC is propagating the importance of masks and hygiene in the wake of the pandemic.
“We will take strict action including issuing notices and imposing fines on the erring garbage collection contractor.” said deputy civic chief- Dr. Sambhaji Panpatte.
The MBMC had inked a 5-year contract with a waste management firm in 2012, to lift garbage and ferry it to the Uttan dump yard.
While the agency has been on-extension mode since 2017, the actual ground work is being done by a politically backed cartel of local subcontractors who claim to have pressed 126 vehicles including compactors, tippers and trucks to lift and ferry garbage.
However, most of these vehicles are in a rickety condition, prompting the contractors to hire open trucks to ferry the garbage.
The police had recently caught 71 rickety garbage vans without proper valid fitness certificates.
Shockingly, some were found plying on roads without number plates.
However, no action has been taken against sanitation inspectors and other senior officers who allegedly play blind to the violations which attract criminal action under the in-force Epidemic Diseases Act.
Moreover, it is the duty of the civic body to ensure that the contractors act in accordance with the SWM Rules.