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RMC flip-flops on cleaning agency

Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), which had decided to replace private cleaning firm A2Z Waste Management Pvt. Ltd with NGOs from January 1, is in a bind over whether to again bank on an external agency to spruce up the state capital or do the job itself.

Although the civic body’s standing committee had approved the proposal to rope in NGOs for collecting waste from households, disposing it at garbage dumps and cleaning roads and drains, several ward councillors objected to the plan on monetary grounds, prompting a rethink on RMC’s part. A final decision in this regard is likely to be taken in two days.

“We will take a final call on who will look after cleanliness of the city in two days. We are making alternative arrangements for cleaning Ranchi tomorrow (Wednesday) and the day after (Thursday),” confirmed chief executive officer (CEO) of RMC Manoj Kumar.

However, he did not elaborate what would be the alternative arrangements.

Tuesday was A2Z’s last working day in the capital. According to sources, the RMC would deploy daily wage earners for the next two days.

The civic body, which has already selected six NGOs through the tender process, had even finalised their rates. While A2Z was paid around Rs 90 lakh per month, the new charges will work out to about Rs 1.5 crore if the task is handed over to NGOs.

However, around 25 ward councillors are against the idea of enlisting the services of NGOs as they feel that it would unnecessarily drain out public money.

But civic body officials point out that the final cost will come to around Rs 1.2 crore per month because the NGOs will get around Rs 30 lakh from households as fee for door-to-door collection of garbage and hand over the money to RMC.

Even as the stalemate continued, residents of many areas complained about piled-up garbage on New Year’s eve as A2Z Waste Management had already pulled out many of its employees on its last working day.

“People in my area are complaining that garbage have not been picked up today (Tuesday). We are mounting pressure on the authorities to take a quick decision on who will finally be doing the cleaning job so that city remains garbage-free,” said Arun Kumar, ward counsellor of Harmu area, one of the most posh localities in the city.