Mira Bhayandar, May 15: The multi-crore de-silting contract doled by the out to a private company Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) for manual and mechanical excavation of nullah’s and drains in the twin-city, is once again drawing flak for flouting solid waste management (SWM) rules. This apart from enhancing the risk of spreading the deadly Covid-19 pandemic amongst hundreds of unheralded sanitary workers who work in the utmost unhygienic conditions not only to keep the twin-city clean but also to save the region from flooding.
The MBMC has appointed a private agency for manual and mechanical excavation using JCB’s, Boat-Poclain and Hydraulic Earth Moving Machines for de-silting work and provision of suction pumps to de-water chronic flooding spots in the twin-city.
Around 400-odd contractual workers who manually clear clogged drains and nullahs as a part of the pre-monsoon de-silting exercise.
However, thanks to a pro-contractor approach by officials, these real architects of cleanliness are forced to work in utmost unhygienic and hazardous conditions. Despite towering claims, the MBMC has yet again failed to ensure that the contractor is compelled to implement mandated safety measures including provision of protective gear including gumboots, face masks and hand gloves to the sanitary staff.
While deputy civic chief (sanitation) - Dr. Sambhaji Panpatte remained unavailable for his comments, a junior officer claimed that instructions had been issued to the contractor to strictly adhere to the mandated safety guidelines.
But the MBMC never bothers to monitor the actual ground reality, this is evident as workers can be seen venturing into drains and cleaning choked-up nullahs without wearing any type of protective gear at various spots. “As per the terms of agreement, the onus of providing protective gears rests on the shoulders of the contractor. We will launch an agitation if sanitation workers are deprived of it.” said MNS union leader- Dilip Gotarne. In accordance to the SWM rules, the civic body should ensure that the contractors provide safety equipment to the workers.
Last year, the MBMC had imposed a fine amounting Rs. 4.64 lakh on the contractor for not providing needed safety gear to workers. There are around 155 major and minor nullahs in the twin-city which measure up to more than 240 km.