A compactor at work on a bustling HB Road in Ranchi on Wednesday. (Prashant Mitra)
The capital’s stink story is never-ending.
If strikes by the broom brigade were taking a toll on cleanliness a few days ago, shoddy attempts at mechanised cleanliness is taking a toll on traffic and hygiene now.
A2Z Waste Management Private Limited — the agency handpicked by the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) to keep capital neighbourhoods free of garbage — is making commuting both chaotic and repulsive by unleashing its fleet of giant vehicles on capital roads during peak hours.
The private agency boasts as many as 21 compactors — a mammoth machine used to compress garbage and reduce its volume — 40 collection vans and 400 wheelbarrows. And most of these vehicles rule roads in the first shift, between 6am and 2pm, resulting in traffic bottlenecks not to mention spilling lumps of stinking unmentionables.
“Garbage from roadside bins should be picked up before 9.30am to avoid traffic snarls. Else, the big A2Z vehicles block narrow city roads during office hours,” said Shyam Agarwal, a businessman in Lalpur.
A2Z carries out cleaning work in three shifts. The second shift starts from 2pm and ends at 10pm, while the third is between 10pm and 6am.
However, residents claim most of its employees and vehicles are pressed into service in the first shift.
“Besides the stench and traffic chaos, commuters also stand the risk of diseases. Wind carries garbage onto the streets and sometimes they land on you while you pass by,” said Neha Kumar, a student of Ranchi Women’s College on Circular Road.
A2Z public relations officer Ashish Kumar Sourabh pleaded helplessness. “Residents empty their dustbins after 6am, while hotels and restaurants take till 10am. So, we are left with little choice,” he explained.
Sourabh, however, said that the agency had asked the civic body to provide it four “transfer stations”, where garbage can be gathered, loaded on compactors and moved to Jhiri, the dumping ground on the outskirts of the capital. “Once we get transfer stations, the major problem of our vehicles stopping by the road and causing snarls will be over,” he added.
Civic officials said they were looking for room for transfer stations as demanded by A2Z. “Efforts are on, but we cannot commit a deadline,” said Naresh Sinha, RMC’s public relations officer.
People, better learn to adjust to stench and snarls.