| EYESORE: A waste dump at a bus stand in Bhubaneswar |
Bhubaneswar, Feb. 10: Tracking of solid waste through cell phones, a service the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation launched in August last year, has almost ended up as an attendance registration system.
The civic body had launched the service to monitor solid waste collection through photographs taken with cell phones.
Cell phones with camera were provided to ward officers, councillors or sanitation officials engaged in the work to monitor solid waste disposal. The BMC uploads on its website photographs of about 1,900 primary transit points (bins) across the city once in the morning and the evening. The photographs are used to show whether the bins have been cleaned or not.
But, several councillors said the monitoring system was only confined to taking snaps of the sanitation workers and uploading them in the evening. Some of them added that even the reports generated through the mobile tracking system were not properly used by the authorities to determine the solid waste bills before payment.
“The mobile tracking system is generating reports on garbage cleaning in each ward. But the civic authorities are paying the bills based on old calculations. There is no follow-up from the mobile tracking mechanism which is based on studying real-time photographs,” said Amaresh Jena, councillor of ward No. 49.
Jena said that while the tracking technology was advanced and effective, its improper implementation had virtually transformed it into an attendance registration system.
The councillors started opposing the mobile tracking system since its council meeting organised in September last year, which was just one month after the introduction of the service in the city.
The chairman of the standing committee on public health and water supply and councillor of ward No. 36, Seikh Nizamuddin, said: “The mobile tracking system has increased the attendance of the sanitation workers, but the effectiveness of the cleaning work has eventually suffered.”
Sources said the civic authorities would have to pay Rs 1.65 crore to a private company for the mobile tracking system for two years.
Councillor of ward No. 30 Hruday Ballav Samantray said: “The tracking system was effective for some months just after its launch. But now, there is no regularity in its monitoring. I do not see any tracking in my ward.”
A leading solid waste contractor said on the conditions of anonymity: “The monitoring system has become expensive. The authorities could have gained much more by tracking the vehicles engaged in solid waste transfer.”
Municipal commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra refused to comment on the mobile tracking system. However, he said that “any drastic action might invite legal complications as the system is under a contract period”.
“In this year’s budget, we have put emphasis on solid waste management. The investment plan on solid waste management was Rs 26 crore last year. But this year it has been raised to Rs 45 crore. Emphasis will be given on privatisation and zonal management, collection, transfer and transport of solid waste. A boundary wall and approach roads will be constructed near the proposed compost plant at Bhuasuni,” he said.