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Boost to waste clean-up
- Commissioner rejects firms’ demand for multiple payment source

Sanitation measures got a boost on Friday, as firms from across the country expressed interest for the project of door-to-door collection of waste in Patna.

A pre-bid meeting for the door-to-door waste collection work under the centrally sponsored project of solid waste management was held at the headquarters of the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday.

Addressing the firm representatives, civic body commissioner Kuldip Narayan said: “The user charges have been approved by the PMC board and it has been sent to the state government for final approval. The firm, which would undertake the door-to-door waste collection work, will deposit the user charges collected from the residents in an escrow account. The collections will be used to pay the fees of the selected firm and for the maintenance of equipment.”

An escrow account is a separate bank account for keeping money that is the property of others.

The pre-bid meeting was convened a day after Patna High Court asked the civic body to start door-to-door collection of waste by January 14, 2014.

The civic body will select the firm(s) that would undertake the door-to-door collection of waste material and collect user charges from residents according to the stipulations of the public-private partnership mode for the project’s execution. The city has been divided into three zones for the project — New Capital, Kankerbagh and Bankipore and Patna City.

The door-to-door collection of waste is one of the two components of the solid waste management project for Patna under the centrally sponsored Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. The first component is supply of municipal application equipment and vehicles.

The PMC started the pre-biding process for the first component on November 12.

At Friday’s pre-bid meeting for the project of door-to-door collection of solid waste, the firm representatives (see chart) put forth queries and demands to PMC.

An executive of Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd said: “We are unable to realise sufficient user charges in the other cities where we are doing this work. It becomes difficult to meet the daily expenses this way. So, payments to the firm(s) should not be done only through an escrow account but also from other sources.”

The firm is carrying out door-to-door collection and other waste management work at Ara, Phulwarisharif and Danapur.

Narayan rejected the executive’s demand. “Payment to the selected firm would not be done through other revenue sources of the PMC, but only through the available deposits in the escrow account. The onus of collection of the user charges would be on the selected firm.”

Most firms also demanded the penalty for low collection of waste and user charges to be kept low initially, which Narayan verbally agreed to.

“We understand that it might take a couple of months for people in all areas of the city to start paying the user charges to the selected firm. So, the penalty for low waste and user charge collection can be kept comparatively lower for the first few months,” he said.