Officials cite lack of manpower and absenteeism among existing sweepers as reasons for keeping Pune dirty.
According to Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) data, around 4,500 people are working to clean roads and surrounding areas. This includes 3,000 employees and 1,500 people who have been hired temporarily .
“Though on paper the manpower is around 4,500, the ground picture is different.Only around 3,000 people are on duty on daily basis. There is no guarantee that the contract workers will turn up to sweep the roads as they are not permanent employees of the civic body . Even out of the staff, ne arly 15% to 20% are absent on a regular basis,“ a senior PMC official said.
He added that each employee works in two shifts. The worker cleans 1.5 sections in a day , around 75,000 sq m. This brings the average work done by all workers per day to 4,500 sections.
“Largely speaking, nearly half of the city remains unclean every day . However, the roads that remain dirty keep changing depending on the workers who turn up for duty . Mostly , however, the fringe areas of the city suffer most.The problem worsens during the festive season,“ the official said.
As per the PMC’s road department, the city’s road network is around 2,200km long. Of that, concrete roads are around 450km and tar roads 1,850km. The administration has also proposed new roads, measuring around 300km.
Suresh Jagtap, head of PMC’s solid waste management department, admitted that the issue has been prevailing for a few years. “The problem of poor staff strength exists. Workload has gone up, but manpower is less. The number of workers has not been increased since 1997 as there was no recruitment,“ he said.
Pune generates nearly 1,600 metric tonnes of garbage every day . Of that, nearly 250 tonnes is wet garbage and 850 tonnes is dry , while 500 tonnes is mixed. Civic officials say that of the total garbage generated, around 15% is plastic.
Citizens’ groups press for garbage segregation solutions at the grassroots level.Maj Gen (retd) S C N Jathar of Nagrik Chetna Manch said disposal of garbage at source should be promoted.
“Big garbage producers such as restaurants, hostels and large residential societies must have their own system.But such facilities are not present in many places. The administration must ensure they act against those organisations which don’t dispose their garbage at the source,“ he said, adding that accumulated garbage spills on roads, making them dirtier.
Source : TOI