Vehicles of A2Z stand idle at Bartand in Dhanbad on Friday. Picture by Gautam Dey
First Ranchi, now Dhanbad.
Cleaning agency A2Z, which was shown the door in Ranchi for unsatisfactory performance, has decided to withdraw its services from Dhanbad from January 20, citing lack of support from the municipal corporation and late payments.
The Gurgaon-based company, which at present works in 26 of the 55 wards under Dhanbad Municipal Corporation, had already served two notices to the state urban development department and the civic body.
The final notice, which came last week, held lack of co-operation from the municipal corporation for A2Z’s failure to extend its activities in all 55 wards of the coal town. The management of the private cleaning firm also asked the corporation to take back its assets, including eight compactors, 17 tractors and other equipment worth Rs 5 crore.
The municipal corporation, on its part, is also not eager to work with A2Z and at a meeting of its standing committee on December 26 decided to float a fresh tender to appoint a new agency after terminating the existing agreement.
Earlier in November, the corporation had imposed a penalty of around Rs 7.2 lakh, which comes to around 20 per cent of the Rs 36-lakh transportation bill submitted by A2Z for September to October, because of poor quality work in several wards.
“Late payment of transportation bills by the municipal corporation, absence of a proper dumping yard for disposal of waste and unavailability of land for establishing a waste processing plant are the major reasons for our decision to pull out,” said collection and transportation head of A2Z Waste Management Service Dhanbad Pvt Limited Dharmendra Tiwari.
He added that the residents of Kusunda, which had been designated by Dhanbad Municipal Corporation as the dumping site, opposed A2Z workers whenever they went there.
“They even attacked our people and vehicles. But the municipal authorities never cared to find out a permanent solution to the problem,” Tiwari added.
Regarding the hurdles in establishing the processing plant, Tiwari said, “BCCL, which was supposed to provide us land, set the precondition that we would have to vacate the plot if they need it in a month’s notice. Who will bear the transportation and reinstallation cost of the plant at the new place if BCCL serves us a notice to vacate the area in the future?”
A senior office-bearer of the corporation, however, said the real reason behind A2Z’s decision was low transportation rate — Rs 440 per tonne of waste — it had quoted during the tender process.
Deputy mayor of Dhanbad Niraj Singh said they would initiate the process to float a fresh tender soon. “It will take around two-three months to complete the process of appointing a new agency. Till then, we will manage the sanitation work with our regular 150 labourers,” he said, adding that they would hire contractual workers, while seeking help from Mada in Jharia and Katras.