Guwahati, Saturday, March 10, 2012
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Municipal solid waste disposal system in shambles
Ajit Patowary
 GUWAHATI, March 9 – The municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal system of the city is becoming complex every passing day. Around 15 lakh population of Guwahati generates around 500 metric tonnes (MTs) or more MSW in a day.

On November 2008, the management of entire MSW of the city was handed over to the Hyderabad-based private sector Ramky Enviro Engineering.

This company has undertaken Integrated Solid Waste Management in the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM). As per its agreement with the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), the company is to collect MSW from the households as well as roadside dustbins and dispose and process them in an environment-friendly manner.

But the company has failed to keep to these mandates. It has been covering only 50 per cent of the around 2, 10,000 households of the city. When the agreement was signed, Guwahati had 387 dustbin points. But, at present, there are only 180 to 200 dustbins at the scheduled locations.

Therefore, said GMC sources, at points where containers are not there, wastes remain uncleared.

Moreover, in a day, Ramky is processing only 50 MTs of MSW, which is only one tenth of the MSW generated in the city. The rest of the MSW is dumped openly at the West Boragaon site with the danger of serious environmental problem in the offing.

Sources said that the problems faced by Ramky had their roots at its failure to realize the user charges from the households and commercial establishments due to popular resistance. Each of the households was supposed to pay at the rate of Rs 50 per month. The rates of the commercial establishments were a bit higher.

Only 50 per cent of the JNNURM money assured to the company has been released so far. This amount is spent on purchasing vehicles, dustbins and development of the disposal site.

Since June 2010, the State Government is paying Rs 45 lakh monthly to the company against door-to-door MSW collection. But this amount is covering only 50 per cent of the city households, sources said.

The company has engaged around 11 NGOs all over the city to collect MSW on a door-to-door basis. Now the company is covering some dustbins with three newly–bought garbage compactors. But these also have failed to take care of about 25 per cent of the MSW collection points.

To remove this left over MSW, the GMC is using its six excavators and 18 dumpers every day. But, these excavators and dumpers were meant for keeping the city drains clean, GMC sources said.

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