Twin festivals of Eid and Vinayak Chavithi celebrated one after the other and the accompanying festivities meant that the GHMC has to lift an extra 1,000 metric tonnes of garbage each day in addition to daily generation of 4,500 metric tonnes.
Entire solid municipal waste is transported from different parts to the three transfer stations of Imlibun, Yousufguda and Lower Tank Bund and from there on to the garbage dumping site of Jawaharnagar.
“We are putting in all our 600 transport vehicles and men for additional afternoon trips along with the morning and evening shifts to the dump yard,” said Additional Commissioner (Health & Sanitation) S. Aleem Basha.
Even a single festival being celebrated usually ensures the quantum of garbage generated is substantially increased. And when two festivals come in one go and are observed for a prolonged period of a month and 10 days, one can well imagine the waste generated.
The problem is not much in collection but more in transporting the waste. The Municipal Corporation is finding it difficult to find experienced drivers to transport waste even when being offered a daily wage of Rs.1,000. Though majority of drivers are outsourced, most take a holiday during festivals and finding alternative drivers is tough.
Transfer stations capacity is another issue. If the pressure was on Imlibun and Yousufguda during Ramzan, the Lower Tank Bund and Yousufguda stations come under tremendous strain during the Vinayak Chavithi celebrations. Earthmovers have been running practically round the clock to get the garbage moving out each day at these sites.
Even bigger issue is the rickety fleet of dumper bins/placers, compactors, etc., being run.
“All vehicles have reached a stage of being condemned but we are forced to run them for an extra shift when they usually would have been overhauled for maintenance,” say officials.
While a fine balance is being maintained on cost of repairs or hiring vehicles, it could cost Rs.100 crore to replace all the vehicles. Yet, the Ramky deal for the integrated municipal solid waste management project is preventing GHMC from purchasing new vehicles because the entire fleet would have to be transferred to the firm once the agreement is implemented in full.
An ongoing High Court hearing into the case has restricted Ramky to developing Jawaharnagar site keeping the pilot project of transferring garbage collection and gathering in the West and East Zones on the backburner.
Senior officials hope for a clearer picture to emerge after the judgement to improve infrastructure for garbage transfer.