Nearly 46% of auto tippers that collect garbage are not tracked
Civic body decides to not clear bills of vehicles that don’t have GPS tracking system
Though door-to-door garbage collection was introduced by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), many neighbourhoods in the city have yet to benefit from it. One of the reasons for the civic body’s failure to achieve 100% collection is the lack of tracking devices on the fleet of auto tippers and compactors.
By the BBMP’s own submission, nearly 46% of auto tippers that are involved in door-to-door collection of waste and 29% of compactors that are secondary transportation vehicles are not being tracked. GPS tracking systems are yet to be installed in these vehicles or the systems are malfunctioning.
As per the division-wise GPS report early this month, of the 5,279 auto tippers, only 2,827 had GPS, while of the 534 compactors, 379 have GPS. The report stated that a whopping 2,452 auto tippers and 155 compactors are shown as ‘not reporting’.
Chamarajpete and Shanthinagar divisions have the maximum ‘not reporting’ auto-tippers with 78% of the fleet yet to be fitted with GPS. Similarly, 80% of the compactors in the Kengeri division are shown as ‘not reporting’ in the report.
Of the 198 wards, the routes for garbage collection have been marked for 184 wards. It is pending for 14 wards, of which three each are in Vijaynagar and Gandhinagar divisions, two each in Chamarajpet and Shivajinagar divisions, and one each in Rajajinagar, Chikpet, Pulikeshinagar, and K.R. Puram divisions.
The report also stated that Chamarajpet, Kengeri, Shanthinagar, Rajarajeshwarinagar, and K.R. Puram have the lowest record of route coverage with percentage covered ranging from 9% to just 1%. Malleswaram division is stated to have the best route coverage with 70%.
The route coverage in the remain ing 21 divisions ranges from 47% to 11%.
BBMP officials in the Solid Waste Management Cell admit to the fact that a large number of vehicles are not fitted with GPS tracking systems. However, they maintained that this did not mean that those vehicles were not on ground. Sarfaraz Khan, BBMP’s Joint Commissioner (SWM), told The Hindu that there were three levels of monitoring, following which the bills of the contractors/service providers are cleared for payment.
“While the GPS tracking system is first, we also monitor RFID and daily reports by the marshals who are posted in all wards,” he said.
He added that bills until July 2021 had been paid after a 5% deduction for vehicles that did not have GPS trackers. “However, the payment was cleared only after verifying with the RFID and marshal reports that were certified by the jurisdictional assistant executive engineer,” he claimed and added that the bills of vehicles without GPS would not be cleared from August 1. Reasons for lack of GPS were varied, from expiry of SIM cards to technical malfunctions. “Most of the issues are being sorted out,” he maintained.
However, waste management experts are not convinced with the BBMP’s justification. “Bengaluru is known as the IT capital. It is unbelievable that the city corporation is still struggling with such minor issues that will bring in much more transparency in waste management. There seems to be a lack of interest in addressing these issues, as garbage is a ‘cash cow’ for civic officials, who are hand-in-glove with the contractors,” said an expert, who wished to remain anonymous.
Ramaprasad V., waste management expert, said a team of experts was now working with the BBMP to resolve these issues, apart from working out different parameters for payment of bills that will align with the norms of Swachh Survekshan.