Garbage spills on to the road at Jharia Bazar in Dhanbad on Thursday. Picture by Gautam Dey
This election, garbage is going to play a decisive role in Dhanbad and Giridih parliamentary constituencies.
Hard to believe, but true!
Voters of at least four of the five circles under Dhanbad Municipal Corporation — Jharia, Dhanbad, Katras and Chatatand — are extremely unhappy with the sanitation work, which is in a mess ever since cleaning agency A2Z Waste Management Private Limited was ousted for its alleged shoddy performance.
Sindri remains an exception as it is not so densely populated and the manpower available here is able to tackle the situation.
But in the remaining circles, drains are overflowing in several localities. Filth continues to pile up, obstructing flow of water that is spilling on to the roads. Mounds of garbage are lying in every nook and corner, as sanitation workers are not reporting for work.
According to the voters, they will exercise their franchise in favour of only that candidate who promises to end their “stinking days”.
Deepak Keshri, a resident of Jharia, said: “We will ask the candidates, when they visit our place for door-to-door campaigning, why should we vote for them? Are they capable of delivering us from the hell we are living in?”
Echoing his sentiments, another resident Pradeep Singh said: “Our friends and relatives do not like to visit our house because of the stink and filth around.”
Ward No. 37 councillor of Jharia circle Anup Sao acknowledged the problem.
“Go to any street of Jharia and you will find heaps of garbage lying on the road, overflowing vats and foul smell everywhere, right from Sabzi Mandi, Fatehpur and Taxi Stand to Dharmashala Road, Children’s Park and Chouthai Kulhi,” Sao said.
The garbage spilling out of the vats on to the roads further leads to traffic jam and raises the possibility of fatal mishaps, he added.
Corporation CEO Balmukund Jha in January had allowed the councillors to hire five contractual labourers for February and March to look after the sanitation work. The labourers were paid through corporation fund.
“But with the model code of conduct in place now, the extension of tenure of contract workers is difficult. Hence, cleaning of drains and garbage disposal has been hampered and will remain till mid-May,” councillor of Dhanbad’s ward No. 26 Priyaranjan said.
At present, the civic body has 130 permanent labourers, manpower not enough to clean all the 55 wards spread across the five circles.
When contacted, deputy mayor Niraj Singh said that political leaders alone could not do anything to make the town spic-and-span.
“No solution to the crisis is possible unless a mechanism is devised to generate revenue to maintain the sanitation system, under which user charges are collected from residents,” Singh said.
While Katras and Chatatand will vote on April 17 for Giridih Lok Sabha seat, Jharia, Dhanbad and Sindri will vote on April 24 for Dhanbad constituency.