The proposal, if implemented, will offer a 50% waiver on garbage cess to establishments and residences which compost waste on site.

Bengalurus waste management woes Vested interests standing in way of new proposal
news Civic Issues Sunday, December 17, 2017 - 15:15

Bengaluru’s civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has come up with another proposal for “efficient” solid waste management in the city. However, like several past proposals, the new one is under threat of either being stuck in cold storage or being rejected entirely.

The Palike’s Solid Waste Management Department has now proposed to raise the garbage cess to 15% of property tax. The Palike is planning to dole out an incentive as well - compost wet waste on site and get a waiver of 50% on garbage cess.

According to BBMP Joint Commissioner for Solid Waste Management, Sarfaraz Khan, every establishment and residence which composts waste on site, will get a 50% waiver on garbage cess.

“Say a person is paying garbage cess of Rs 1,000, if the person or commercial establishment composts the wet waste on site, then they will only have to pay Rs 500 cess. We will discuss the issue in the next council meeting,” he said.

However, Sandhya Narayan, a member of the Solid Waste Management Round Table, said that the proposal has not been supported by council members, which is why it has not been implemented.

“This issue has been discussed so many times at council meetings. The council members do not want the contractors to lose out on business. Currently, the contractors appointed for garbage collection take care of door to door collection of waste. If people begin composting at their homes, the contractors will lose out on business. There is obviously a nexus between the contractors and councillors which is why every good proposal for waste management gets shot down,” Sandhya alleged.

Sandhya says that the council has already rejected the proposal keeping in mind the profits and losses of the contractors.

Corroborating Sandhya’s statement, NS Ramakanth, a member of BBMP’s Solid Waste Management Committee, says that on several occasions in the past, proposals for solid waste management in the city have been rejected by the Palike’s councillors.

“In February this year, the committee had proposed to introduce a system of secondary transfer stations for garbage collection. If implemented, this system would have ensured efficient segregation of waste in the city. But it was rejected,” Sandhya claims.

According to the proposal, the smaller garbage trucks would have to arrive at the secondary transfer stations, where the transfer of garbage from small to big trucks would happen in a “clean and efficient manner”.

“If this proposal was to work, we would have had to call for tenders where big companies would be in-charge of these stations to ensure that there is a mechanised, clean and efficient system. Currently, the garbage contractors are in-charge of start-to-end process of waste management. This would have burnt a hole in their pockets, which is why the councillors rejected the plan,” she added.

Ramakanth says that another plan which has never been approved by the BBMP Council is the installation of GPS trackers in waste collection trucks.

“For so many years, the committee has been trying to push for installation of GPS trackers in the garbage trucks. But if this happens, we will be able to monitor how many trucks are on duty every day. The council members do not want the contractors to lose out on the money because there is a nexus here,” he alleged.

Speaking to TNM, Sarfaraz Khan said that the loophole in the proposal to increase the cess and then waive it is that there is no proper implementation mechanism.

“So we have to take the property owners’ word for waiving 50% of the cess. If there is a way to ensure that the system is automated, then it will work. Otherwise, monitoring every house in the city is impossible,” he added.

Khan, however, said that if property owners are found violating norms, they will be fined heavily. “Random checks can be conducted and by this way we can find out if people are violating the policy,” he said.

 

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