BENGALURU: The city corporation is serviced by nearly 4,300 waste-collection vehicles, 500 contractors and 14,000 pourakarmikas, yet there is no technology used to keep track of their activities, said Narayanan, a member of the SWM Round Table and SWM Expert Committee. She was one of the citizens who gathered at the Town Hall to demand a biometric system of attendance for pourakarmikas and a GPS-enabled waste collection drive. She said both measures can go a long way in making work related to solid waste management (SWM) more efficient.
Time and again, attempts to bring in transparency and efficiency through tech has been scuttled by private contractors. A number of citizens like Sandya, master trainers, suchi mitras, NGOs and RWAs who work closely with the BBMP and residents from various wards staged a demonstration on Sunday.
Contractors, they say, are abusing the present system to overcharge the city corporation and to underpay the pourakarmikas. Allen Joseph, a resident of Byatarayanapura, who is also a master trainer says, “There are 190 to 220 pourakrimas for each of the 198 wards. They work under private contractors who who make up the numbers of these workers,” he says. Even in this day a system of manual attendance is being used that leaves a lot of room for fudging details, adds Allen.
“Also, while disbursing the meager salaries of these workers, there are long delays. Some of them do not receive the full amount or get it two months late with cuts taken by contractors. We are demanding that their salaries be credited directly to their accounts after it is synced with their biometrics,” says Allen.
Following the flash strike of BBMP contractors on Saturday, the city has once again been held to ransom. Sandya says that while there are a few contractors who want to work well there are a few big ones who set the agenda. A pilot using GPS in vehicles was conducted sometime back, however there was large scale non-cooperation by the contractors. “Some of them would cut the wires of the GPS device in their vehicles,” says Sandya.
The residents also demanded the use of mechanical sweeping machines to get more work done in lesser time. Allen says, “On a stretch of 1km, around two pourakarmikas are stationed. However they take their own sweet time. Using machines would not displace jobs. On the contrary, they can be made to do more productive jobs”. Blacklisting of corrupt contractors and recognition of waste pickers to handle all dry waste were other suggestions.