Six months after taking over garbage collection and disposal in major parts of the town and suburban areas, the Puducherry Municipal Services Private Limited (PMSPL) has now launched a toll-free helpline, 1800-103-8552, to get feedback from the public and improve services.

Speaking to The Hindu recently, Subash Menon, Chairman of Kivar Group, which launched the PMSPL in association with the Puducherry Urban Development Agency, said that the firm was trying to interact with people to see how they rated its services and what could be improved.

He said that any complaint pertaining to the firm and its services could be made through the helpline, which would be available round the clock.

When it began its work in major localities six months ago, residents in several areas, especially Ariankuppam and Lawspet, complained of lack of consistency in garbage collection. Topping the list of grievances was inadequacy in the number of bins to dispose garbage and lack of cooperation from the staff, who worked for the PMSPL.

Several residents also complained that garbage collection did not happen on a daily basis and they were forced to accumulate two or three days of thrash at home before it was cleared.

While many of such inadequacies have been sorted out, residents who spoke to The Hindu on Tuesday said that the erratic timings at which the PMSPL workers came for collecting the garbage was inconvenient.

V. Singane, a senior citizen and resident of Villianur, said that though he was happy with the services of the agency, the vehicles that clear the thrash come in the afternoon when the elderly take rest.

“People at home go to work in the afternoons and elders like us take rest. It would be better if they do the collection in the morning,” he said.

P.B. Seshadri, president of the Avvai Nagar Residents' Association, said that while door-to-door collection of garbage has been improved over the last several months, the streets remain littered. He said that when the issue was taken up with the PMSPL officers, they had said that there was shortage of workers and the issue would be sorted out soon.

Other major issue for the agency was the site of storing the collected garbage. Mr. Menon said that while the tender document expressly mentioned that garbage could be stored at the Kurumbapet site, environment issues cropped up and they moved the storage to the site in Karuvadikuppam.

Dismissing reports that the agency was trying to burn the collected trash, he said that processing of garbage has been held up owing to an interim direction from the court and the process was a source of revenue which they would not like to give up by burning the trash.

On segregation of garbage at source, he said it was being done in the White Town areas and the agency was now planning awareness campaigns to persuade residents of other localities to segregate garbage.