Seema Sinha dumps garbage outside her house in PC Colony in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh
Seema Sinha, a housewife residing in PC Colony, has been forced to dump garbage around 500m away from her house for a week now.
Till a week ago people from some private agency regularly collected garbage from her house, charging Rs 30 a month. But around a week ago, the private agency people stopped coming to collect garbage.
Residents claimed Nishka Security & Intelligence Services - the agency selected for executing door-to-door garbage collection in Bankipore and Kankerbagh circle by Patna Municipal Corporation - had warned those who picking up garbage earlier not to carry out its business there, as according to PMC Nishka was supposed to carry out the work.
Residents of PC Colony said neither were people from Nishka Security & Intelligence Services allowing any other agency to collect garbage, nor where they themselves turning up to collect trash.
Result: Not just Seema, even other residents are clueless what to do with the garbage. PC Colony residents are dumping their garbage outside their homes. Many residents are dumping it in a corner of their house and occasionally taking a trudge to dump it further away from home. But it still remains in the locality.
"We are already paying municipality tax, which covers almost everything, be it garbage management work, sewerage treatment or supply water connection," said Seema's husband S.P. Sinha. "After paying municipal tax, we now have to pay Rs 60 a month to the private agency selected by PMC for door-to-door garbage collection. There are around 10 lakh residents. That means around Rs 6 crore is going to be paid in addition to the municipality tax. Is this not a type of burglary? Why do we need to pay in addition to the municipality tax?"
Expressing helplessness, he said: "Residents have finally accepted PMC's directive and want to hand over their garbage to Nishka people but why are labourers associated with the agency not turning up to collect garbage in our locality. What kind of joke is this? The private agency collecting garbage from our area was regular in its work. But today we had to throw garbage around 500m away from our house, which is still in our locality. No organisation is going to collect it."
Mamta Gupta, another housewife in the area, was furious at the new door-to-door garbage collection system. "If the private agency engaged by PMC comes to my house for seeking money for the service, I am not going to pay them anything. Why should I pay them when they don't come to collect my garbage? I am having to dump my garbage at a corner of my house. My husband later throws it few metres away. You will see residents dumping garbage in rectangular concrete structures outside their houses here. Mosquito menace has increased as a result," Mamta said.
Rishi Kumar Verma, a businessman (46) resident, said he had welcomed the PMC's move to award door-to-door garbage collection work. "We thought it better to pay money to a PMC-approved agency. But the new system has failed drastically," Rishi said.
Director of Nishka Security & Intelligence Services, Ragini Ranjan, however, said a few residents were registering false complains as they did not want to pay more than what they paid their earlier service provider. "The unauthorised private agencies, who are illegally collecting garbage even after we assigned duty to someone else, are also brainwashing residents," Ragini said. She, however, said the agency had not covered all residents in the areas assigned. "We're likely to cover all households in a week," she said.
PMC commissioner Abhishek Singh said Nishka had been given 48 hours to reach out to residents where private providers had stopped collecting garbage.
Bulbs in every ward
Sixty bulbs would be installed in every ward before Durga Puja, a standing committee meeting of PMC decided on Tuesday. A decision was also taken to revive an automobile workshop in Patna City for repair and maintenance of vehicles, repair 41 hand-held fogging machines and give seven tricycles to every ward to segregate dry and wet waste.