No respite for Smart city Shimla from garbage and sanitation crisis
Shimla: The change in the leadership at the Shimla Municipal Corporation House seems to have changed nothing regarding the poor waste management or garbage disposal. People have not begun to criticise wasting major part of funds on maintenance of core areas like the Shimla Mall and Ridge.
After a notice from the Himachal Pradesh High Court for commissioning of the waste treatment plant by July 15, the SMC made it operational very recently. The SMC claims the city generates about 70 tons of waste daily, all of which can be treated at the new treatment plant. The plant is generating electricity from this plant, claims SMC.
However, there seems no respite for Shimla city from a poor garbage disposal arrangement. The localities are stinking and presenting ugly scene almost in entire Corporation area. Totu, Boileauganj, Tutikandi, Vikasnagar, Panthaghati, Sanjauli etc. are some of the worst hit areas.
The door-to-door garbage collection system is not working efficiently in several localities. Residents are complaining irregularity on the part of the garbage collectors in picking up daily garbage.
Even if garbage is collected, it remains dumped on roadsides for several days. The glass shards, plastic bottles or piles of reeking garbage are a common sights as always,
said a resident of Totu.
Garbage collection is not regular. Residents and shopkeepers collect their garbage near the bus stop in open as there is no dumper of dustbin available. Sometimes, the garbage is not removed for days,
said a shopkeeper in Panthaghati.
In such conditions, people are forced to store their daily garbage in houses. A couple of years ago, Shimla MC had declared the city dumper free claiming they were no more required as the door-to-door garbage collection service was working in all localities with 100 percent efficiency.
However, in some regions of the city, overflowing dumpers are still visible at several places.
Until the MC pickup doesn’t arrive to remove it, monkeys, cows, and stray dogs feast on vegetable and food waste placed in the open. They litter it all over the road within minutes,
said a resident of Boileauganj.
As per its own records, the efficiency of the SMC’s waste management service is not too bad. Sadly, the MC is relying on old statistics that are available on its website.
As per SMC record (2014), 86 % of the residential population was covered under the door to door waste collection system. Remaining 14% percent were not covered under the scheme.
If SMC records are to be believed, out of over 45,000 households in the Shimla city, around 38,000 are covered under the scheme.
In reality, the Corporation has so far failed to manage the Shimla Environment, Heritage Conservation and Beautification (SEHB) Society, which was specifically formed to take care of the sanitation work in 2009 under Himachal Pradesh Societies Registration Act 2006.
The body is supervised by the Commissioner (President) and Corporation Health Officer (Member Secretary).
Strikes by SHEB Society clearly indicate its conflict with the Corporation. In June, Shimla’s garbage collection and sanitation arrangements were left in the lurch for about a week as the workers of the SHEB Society went on strike demanding 10% hike in their monthly wages.
Prior to the introduction of the door to door garbage service, I used to carry daily garbage to nearest dumper myself. During strikes of sanitation workers, I had no choice but to keep storing daily waste in my house as there are no dumbers in our locality now,
said a resident of Vikasnagar.
The population of the city is increasing at annual rate of over 5% but the sanitation arrangements are only worsening.
The SMC has a set of rules to ensure compliance on the part of the citizens, but no strictness is displayed in their implementations.
Shimla city’s rank drops to 47th in cleanest cleanliness and sanitation
Rank of Shimla city dropped to 47 on the list of cleanest 434 cities surveyed under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2016. Shimla appears to be doing better on the list of cities with a population between 2 and 10 lakh.
In the survey, availability of toilet, sewerage connectivity, door to door garbage collection and adequate dustbins in houses was assessed.
The SMC argues that not more than 25 percent of the total houses are connected by motorable roads. Prohibition on construction of roads due to their vulnerability of landslide is a big hindrance in collecting and transporting waste.
Previous Deputy Mayor Tikendar Panwar had attributed the cause of inefficiency in the working of the door to door garbage collection to the arduous nature of the work due to a hilly region. He had argued that more manpower is required to resolve this issue.
Initially, for primary storage and segregation of garbage, the SHEB society had provided residents, offices, institutes etc. with two colored bins – yellow for non-biodegradable and green for biodegradable waste.
However, the civic body did not work on creating awareness regarding the need to segregate waste at domestic level.
The MC had given us two separate bins for waste segregation, but the collector unloads these bins in the same sack. So we found it in vain to pay attention to segregation because it is not practiced even by the sanitation workers,
said a resident of Tutikandi.
The Corporation is availing some centre schemes meant to introduce upgraded waste management methods and sanitation norms.
As per its own records (2014), MC Shimla had received funds under 13th Finance Commission and State Grants for sustaining and improving Solid Waste Management services.
Under the Jawaharlal Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), an integrated Solid Waste Management Project was approved for Rs. 1,604 Lacs.
The Corporation claims it has utilized this grant in improving solid waste management infrastructure through the purchase of pickup vans, compactors, garbage bins, constructing new treatment plant and consultancy fees for preparation of DPRs.
The government of India has also launched various initiatives through Ministry of Urban Development for ensuring effective solid waste management at Urban Local Body (ULB) level.
Moreover, the State was provided a draft framework for the development of its own sanitation strategy under the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act (1992) based National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP, 2006). The point was to consider respective peculiar conditions of the State.
Overall urban hygiene within a city was also attended in the Urban Infrastructure Governance (UIG) component of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM). It was meant to provide much needed financial assistance for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT).
However, the overall results are quite disappointing. Garbage is robbing the “queen of hills” of its beauty.