Heaps of garbage lie unattended at Karbala Chowk in Ranchi on Friday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) finally chose to steer clear of NGOs for the time being and deployed its own workforce to clean roads and drains on Friday amid the raging controversy on who will be finally given the task to collect and dispose waste in the state capital.
Though the civic authorities maintained that the arrangements were temporary, sources confirmed that the six NGOs selected through the tender process after A2Z Waste Management Pvt. Ltd’s was shown the door eventually would not be invited to take cleanliness charge of Ranchi. Ultimately, a global tender would be floated to select another alternative agency.
The RMC bosses seem to have found merit in the contention of a section of ward councillors, who had argued that the NGOs were charging far higher rates and had wanted the civic body to clean the city on its own.
While A2Z, the Gurgaon-based agency the RMC had signed an agreement in 2011 for keeping the city clean and building and running a waste disposal and treatment plant at Jhiri, got around Rs 80 lakh per month for services rendered till it withdrew on December 32, 2013, the NGOs collectively had quoted over Rs 1.5 crore per month.
“As of now, we are keeping NGOs out of the picture. We will be cleaning the city on our own and have deployed around 200 labourers from today (Friday). Cleaning work will pick up pace over the next few days and you will get a spic and span city by January 14,” said chief executive officer of RMC Manoj Kumar.
“We have pressed into action a few labourers, who had earlier worked under A2Z. We will get more hands in the next few days,” added RMC’s health officer A.K. Majhi.
RMC insiders, on the other hand, gave a different story.
According to them, the authorities have made up their minds not to hand over the job to NGOs and will look for a suitable agency that has considerable experience in managing solid waste in cities.
“The NGOs will not be roped in to clean Ranchi. We are getting ready to issue a global tender to select a suitable agency for the task and will send a formal proposal to the state urban development department after January 15,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Till then, capital residents can only pray that garbage piled up in front of their doorsteps ever since A2Z quit on December 31 is cleaned regularly as the civic body’s performance on Day One was far from satisfactory. Most roads and streets remained unattended and dustbins spilled.
RMC had signed a 30-year contract with A2Z. For more than a year till early 2013, the agency performed well. But residents started complaining about unclean roads and streets soon thereafter, prompting ward councillors to mount pressure on RMC administration to terminate the agreement.