The civic body has invited bids from organisations such as cooperative societies, for enlisting an additional of 2000 conservancy workers for collection of garbage from homes and sweeping of streets for a period of 150 days.

The Chennai Corporation has taken steps to involve cooperative societies in conservancy operations in the city.

The civic body has invited bids from organisations such as cooperative societies, for enlisting an additional of 2000 conservancy workers for collection of garbage from homes and sweeping of streets for a period of 150 days, Chennai Corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan said. The move is yet another innovative step following the approval of the Chennai Corporation council in July for the gradual privatisation of conservancy operations in all zones

Conservancy operations in zones such as Teynampet, Kodambakkam, Adyar and parts of Ambattur have been privatised. As part of the efforts of the Corporation to shortlist suitable technology for remediation and scientific closure of the Perungudi and Kodungaiyur dump yards, the civic body also sought privatisation of conservancy operations in all the other zones.

“The plan for involving cooperatives in conservancy operations is likely to be a stepping stone for a massive transformation of the livelihood condition of the existing labourers with private conservancy contractors,” said Stanley Xavier Elango, deputy director, Institute of Cooperative Management, Hyderabad.

The members of such cooperatives, who undertake primary collection of garbage, will be covered under the Cooperative Societies Act, unlike self-help groups. The income-earning capacity of members of such cooperative societies will be higher, said Mr. Elango. The profit earned under the conservancy contract will be shared by the members of the cooperative society. The members will also draw salary on a monthly basis.

A minimum of 25 conservancy workers from a neighbourhood are required for registering a new cooperative society with the registrar of cooperative societies. Vibrant cooperative societies may even have thousands of members. Even though the maximum number of days required for registering such a cooperative society is 90 days, the process can even be completed within two or three days, said Mr. Elango.

“Members from various slums can make use of the opportunity to register new cooperative societies and improve their standard of life. The huge profits made by private conservancy operators can be channelised for the welfare of the poor labourers if more cooperative societies are formed in the city,” he added.

The Chennai Corporation may expand the scope of work to other aspects of solid waste management if vibrant networks of cooperative societies are established in the city’s slums.

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