Of watches, 2-bin vehicles

Garbage collectors, staff cry foul; residents say waste of money

Of watches, 2-bin vehicles

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 24

It seems without preparing any blueprint, the local Municipal Corporation ordered 390 two-bin waste-collection vehicles at a cost of about Rs29 crore as also 4,000 smart watches at about Rs2.16-crore rent per annum, to keep a check on the field staff, mainly sanitation workers.

Why not phones instead of watches

On some residents’ suggestion that why cannot the MC make use of mobile phones of the staff for keeping a check on them as these too are GPS-enabled, a senior officials said: “Phones are their personal property. Not all of them carry phones to work and not everyone uses a smart-phone. With the help of watches, the staff can mark attendance online and we can also randomly send messages to 100 users at a time.”

Union cites quality, health issues

President of Safai Karamchari Union Krishan Kumar Chadha claimed: “These watches are faulty and show wrong location of workers. Those wearing them also feel giddy and sick.”

We all wear them, says commissioner

MC chief KK Yadav said: “All employees, including me, are wearing these watches and have faced no problem.” A senior MC official said, “It is just their excuse to shirk work. If so is the case, they can show us their medical report.”

The garbage collectors and workers have been opposing the MC move since the process to acquire the vehicles and watches started. Now, they are on an indefinite strike, bringing cleaning of roads and lifting of garbage to a halt in most areas.

Officials of the MC said both agendas were duly passed by the House before their implementation.

The GPS-enabled wrist watches were introduced in February for marking online attendance of the field staff, preventing the misuse of manual attendance system, maintaining transparency and weeding out dummy workers. It was claimed that the salaries would be prepared on the basis of GPS data of watches.

The civic body has started paying Rs18 lakh per month rent to a private firm that maintains the system. According to the MC Commissioner, last month around 30 employees were found wanting in duty, but their salaries were released after a warning.

“We want to do segregation and collect monthly payment from households by ourselves. But the corporation is trying to impose its plan on us by bringing in the two-bin garbage-collection vehicles,” said chairman of Garbage Collectors’ Society OP Saini.

Chairman of Chandigarh Residents Associations Welfare Federation Hitesh Puri said: “The MC has no blueprint of the project. It should involve these poor garbage collectors while planning such projects. Running e-rickshaws instead of vehicles will be economical.”

Chairman of Federation of Sectors Welfare Associations of Chandigarh Baljinder Singh Bittu said: “Buying vehicles is only a waste of money. They will have to hire drivers and helpers, and spend on diesel and maintenance.”

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