The problem of potholed roads is deeper than it seems on the surface. That’s what the civic authorities seem to have realised after 25-year-old Amit Dalmia drove into a death trap on Camac Street on Monday. In order to improve the civic amenities, mayor Subrata Mukherjee has decided on “partial privatisation” of the services.
“Civic workers have failed to deliver the goods. If citizens want better amenities, the only way out is privatisation. This is a more economic and effective option for us, too,” said Mukherjee, during the day, having lost his faith in his men in maintaining the roads, underground sewers and solid waste management.
The first phase of the privatisation scheme will cover drainage and sewerage, removal of litter and water supply.
Desilting drives will be entrusted to TTJ, the company that used to supply jetting and blow-vac machines to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC). “Now, the company will operate six jetting-cum-suction machines to scoop out silt from the brick and pipe sewers. The CMC will make payments at a fixed rate for a tonne of silt dumped at Dhapa,” said member, mayor-in-council (drainage and sewerage) Rajiv Deb. “If the arteries are cleaned, waterlogging during monsoon will automatically be minimised,” he added.
In the solid waste management sector, some city pockets on the south-eastern fringes will be brought under the private conservancy service. Contractors’ men will collect litter from households and dump it in the Dhapa grounds. The private party will be paid according to the weight of the garbage dumped.
The CMC also has plans to instal metered connections to realise water tax in future. Contractors’ men will read the meters, collect the bills and deposit the sum to the CMC. A certain percentage of commission from the amount collected will be allotted for them.
Moreover, the upkeep of the three 20-MGD (million gallons a day) treatment plants coming up at Palta will be entrusted to a private hand.