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Sanitation work in 25 wards of capital city affected

Staff Reporter

Labourers targeting us, say private agencies



Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation had not paid their dues to the tune of Rs.70 lakh

Private agencies threaten to continue their protests



BHUBANESWAR: Unit-I market, the largest vegetable bazaar of the capital city, was difficult to access by people with heaps of garbage creating unhygienic atmosphere on Saturday.

The busy market place was not the lone area, as many as 25 wards of the city suffered similar fate with private agencies ceasing lifting of waste materials protesting non-payment of their dues.

Private agencies, who were assigned to keep the colonies clean, alleged that they were facing wrath of labourers as they could not pay their daily wages.

They said Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) had not paid their dues, which was to the tune of Rs. 70 lakh.

With an objective to provide better sanitation service to it’s citizens, BMC had privatised sanitation and cleaning service in selected wards. “There were about 1,200 sweepers to look after the sanitation service in the entire Corporation area. Looking at the large area involved and the extent of generation of wastes, these 1,200 sweepers were quite inadequate to maintain the cleanliness of the city,” BMC said.

Accountability

But apprehensions were raised to ensure accountability among private agencies who were engaged in cleaning.

Subsequently, BMC asked the private operators to get their report of clearing garbage attested from Commissioner, Mayor, corporators and people at large.

“Despite the fact that we went through such a tedious process and submitted our report regularly, Commissioner abruptly cut down our payment by 50 per cent to 60 per cent.

Top honchos of BMC had never complained about our work,” a proprietor of private agency said.

He said BMC had not even once cautioned about the substandard sanitation works being taken up by them.

Purn Jena, a former corporator, said, “cutting down of payment is not the solution. The BMC was warned about such consequence when it went ahead with privatisation.”

“If BMC officials had any complain about substandard work for which it held up payment of few contractors, people should not have been left to suffer. Other agencies could have been hired immediately,” Mr. Jena said.

Private agencies had sent a warning to stop working from October 10, but BMC was not serious on the issue.

Since morning on Saturday people were made to walk along piles of garbage. They threatened to continue their protests.

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