Corporation asks conservancy agency to explain deficiencies; termination of service considered

The Chennai Corporation on Saturday issued the third show-cause notice to private conservancy agency Ramky Enviro Engineers, asking for explanations for deficiencies it listed out in individual wards. The company carries out conservancy operations in Adyar, Teynampet and Kodambakkam zones.

Sources in the civic body said that this would perhaps be the last of notices issued to the company. “If they do not improve, we may think of severe action, which would possibly be termination of their services. They have had nine months of time and by now, they should have improved their operations,” said an official.

Top officials of Ramky met Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy and Corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan to discuss the issue. However, the response from the company was not very encouraging and the meeting did not end on a positive note.

The civic body has been levying fines on Ramky for various deficiencies in services including vehicles not setting out on time, absenteeism among conservancy staff, not spraying a disinfectant of lime and bleaching powder, streets not being swept and delays in clearing garbage bins.

Now, the Corporation is mulling over the possibility of awarding contracts to several conservancy companies at the ward-level, instead of giving a contract to one large company.

“We learnt that lesson during the work on stormwater drains, where big contractors were of no use and did not complete the projects. If the contracts had been split into smaller units, it might have worked. In garbage clearance, too smaller contractors would mean lesser investments and smaller groups of employees,” said a source.

Company sources said the civic body had levied close to Rs. 6 crore as penalties against them.

“Under the terms of the contract an evaluation should have been done on a daily basis. But this was not done. If this method of calculating penalties continues, we will have no other way but to opt out. It will not help the spirit of public-private partnerships, which is how this system was supposed to have worked,” the source said.

The company set up a Special Purpose Vehicle called Chennai Municipal Solid Waste Pvt Limited for Chennai operations.

Source said it was being paid Rs. 1,469 per tonne that was cleared by 4,500 employees. It had placed 3,750 bins as against the 2,800 suggested in the micro plan. As many as 1,550 tricycles and 67 compactors were being used by the company for conservancy in three zones.

In June this year however, the Corporation took over conservancy work in wards 110 and 112 in Teynampet zone following allegations from residents of inadequate operations in the area.

More In: Chennai