Civic body begins conservancy operations in two Teynampet wards; will take over four more soon
The Chennai Corporation on Monday commenced conservancy work on ward nos. 110 and 112 in Teynampet zone which, until earlier this week, were under the charge of private conservancy operator Ramky Enviro Engineers. Around 150 new conservancy labourers have been deployed in the two wards by the civic body.
Starting Wednesday, the Chennai Corporation will take over the conservancy work in ward nos.127 and128 in Kodambakam zone and ward nos.170 and174 in the Adyar zone as well.
Conservancy operations in many localities near Poonamallee High Road, Padavattamman Koil Street, Kaliamman Koil Street, Gangaiamman Koil Street, Nerkundram Road, Kamarajar Salai, Arcot Road, Rajamannar Salai, Anna Main Road, Anna Salai, Sardar Patel Road and Gandhi Mandapam Road, all of which fall under the six wards that have been taken over, will now be done by the civic body.
Residents and councillors claimed that the new initiative on Monday had improved conditions in some localities. T. Gunasekaran, a resident of Jayalakshmipuram of Teynampet zone said: “Garbage was not removed for over 10 days in our locality. It was stinking. Today, the new workers came and cleared many such areas.”
K. Chandrasekaran, Corporation Councillor of ward no. 110 said that he used to receive over 15 complaints on garbage clearance in a day. “Supervision of conservancy work was not adequate in the ward,” he said.
S. Sakthi, councillor of ward no.112 said the number of new conservancy workers deployed by the Corporation had remained the same as that of Ramky. As many as 70 workers have been deployed in ward no. 112.
The Corporation has agreed to pay the new contract workers Rs. 247 per day.
Ramky Enviro Engineers in a written statement on Monday clarified that they were still bound by the terms of agreement signed with the Corporation of Chennai and that there was no deviation from it. “We are fulfilling all the conditions set before us as per the agreement. It is not right to suggest that Ramky is not willing to pay its workers more than Rs. 205. We are paying the workers not only the minimum wages fixed by the Collector as per the Shops and Establishments Act under which the legal entity is registered, but are also contributing towards each worker's ESI, PF, gratuity and bonus, so the amount each worker earns is substantially higher than what is suggested in the media reports. The media reports regarding the demand for higher wages are shifting the focus in the minds of workers away from work and productivity and are disrupting operations.”
The company also denied the report that it doesn't have the required number of workers as mandated in the agreement. “The company does have the required number of workers but absenteeism has resulted in a shortage of workers. But we have resorted to hiring more than 500 workers as well as employing the workers of the previous conservancy operator to tide over the crisis.”
The statement from Ramky added that it was handling over 1,600 tonnes of waste per day, compared to the 1,500 tonnes of waste mandated in the agreement. “We are able to clear all the bins within our jurisdiction as per the time indicated. But unfortunately, there is no enforcement on the commercial establishments and bulk generators who are generating huge quantity of waste and dumping it in the bins at night, which is resulting in the overflow of bins. We have requested the Corporation to issue notice to these establishments to keep the waste with them in packed mode so that we can collect at their door step.”
“We are trying to bring more workers for night shift by paying additional wages, so that we can clear the main roads and commercial areas in the night. We recruited more than 100 sweepers in each zone for night sweeping. We will bring it to the maximum night sweeping level within a few months in coordination with the Chennai Corporation,” Ramky's statement added.
The statement pointed to the fact that sweeping operations in Hyderabad were carried out all through the night to have the city ready by morning. But in Chennai it is expected that sweeping operations be completed between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and this is proving very difficult for the sweepers, the statement said.