Proposal approved without much ado as the DMK members left the house before the discussion

The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation Council on Wednesday gave its nod for outsourcing sanitary operations and solid waste management in 18 wards in the city even as a majority of the Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members stayed away when the matter was taken up by the council for discussion.

The lone Congress councillor, along with an DMK member who was present, and an AIADMK councillor, opposed the privatisation in their respective wards.

Under the pilot project, sanitary workers from contracted private agencies will be deployed in 18 wards, including two wards in Srirangam zone, six in Ariyamangalam zone, seven in Golden Rock, and three in K. Abishekapuram zone, besides the Central and Chathram bus stands and the Gandhi Market in the city.

The agency would be vested with the task of primary collection of garbage, segregate them at source into degradable and non-degradable wastes, transport them to the corporation garbage dump, clean bus route roads with road sweeping machines, and clean up the streets and storm-water drains in the assigned areas every day. The proposal would be forwarded to the Commissioner of Municipal Administration after which the civic body would call for tenders to award the contract.

The move was approved at the council meeting, chaired by Mayor A. Jaya, without much ado as the DMK members left the house before the resolution came up for discussion.

While the former Deputy Mayor and DMK floor leader M. Anbazhagan left the meeting soon after question hour, the other DMK members, except P. Usha Rani, followed suit.

Usha Rani, representing ward 36, and S. Sudhakar, AIADMK, representing ward 8, opposed the privatisation in their respective wards. Both of them said they had given it in writing that they did not want the project to be implemented in their wards. “When corporation workers were able to do the job effectively, where was the need for outsourcing?” wondered Mr. Sudhakar.

R. Hema (Congress) opposed the project citing bad experience with similar initiatives, especially at the Central Bus Stand. “Often the number of sanitary workers deployed by the agency was found to be very less and inadequate,” she said and expressed doubts on whether the civic body would be able to put in place an effective monitoring mechanism.

Corporation Commissioner V.P. Thandapani said wards with vast geographical area and of public importance had been selected for the implementation of the project and maintained that the wards were identified at a meeting of all-party representatives of the council. Mr. Thandapani justified the move saying that the civic body had less than 50 per cent of the sanitary workers required.