VIJAYAWADA: Sanitation has taken a back seat in the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) as there aren’t enough sanitation staff to collect the garbage generated from households and commercial establishments in the city. The city, with a population of close to 14 lakh, has only 2,900 CMYE and 677 public health workers to clean 59 sanitary divisions in about 61.88 sq.km. Daily, 550 metric tonnes of garbage is generated in the city of which 300 MT is generated directly from households and dumped into dumper bins on the streets.
According to records available with the VMC, the corporation had been spending around Rs 110 crore per annum for the maintenance of sanitation across the city. Several sanitation staff working in the VMC are aged between 25 and 45. Around 150 sanitation staff are aged above 55 years and they are not able to perform their duties like collecting garbage and cleaning the roads. Nearly 80 sanitation staff will retire every year and there were no measures taken by the civic body to recruit sanitation staff since 2010. Close to 300 workers died in the last decade. As many as 230 sanitation workers are not attending their duties due to various health problems.
According to sources, the civic body was exploring the possibility to handover sanitation maintenance to a private consultant, following the guidelines of a government order. A survey will be conducted by the private consultant to classify the city into residential, commercial and industrial zones in order to know the status of garbage generated in the city per day.
“Viral fever like malaria and dengue have affected the city. Though the civic body had launched several campaigns to control the viral fever in the city, they have not fructified with shortage of sanitation staff. At least now, the civic body should open its eyes and recruit adequate number of sanitation staff,” said CPM State leader Ch Babu Rao.VMC Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr M Gopi Naik said that due lack of sufficient sanitary workers at the division level, the city is plagued with poor sanitation and steps will be taken to improve hygiene.