BBMP refuses to pay dry waste collectors in Bellandur

Dry waste is sorted in the collection centre in Bellandur. Pic: Seema Sharma

It has been six months since separate dry waste collection started in Bellandur ward. But the service provider who has collected dry waste for last six months has not been paid.

In February, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) handed over the Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC) in both Doddakannelli and Kodathi dry waste collection centers in Bellandur ward (ward number 150), to Mr Manjunath, who is into dry waste business.

In April 2017, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) gave the Memorandum of Understanding, Memorandum of Agreement and the work order to him, that allowed him to collect dry waste from the ward.

The work order included door-door pick up of dry waste from non-bulk generators. All buildings that were not commercial, and dwellings that had less than 50 units, were under this system. The system was divided into two packages, 150 A and 150 B, as the ward is the biggest in size.

BBMP finds excuses to make payments

The MOA given by the BBMP included payment to Manjunath for six vehicles, six drivers and six helpers to go along with vehicles. It has been two months since the bill has been raised for first three months, with a pending total amount of Rs 6,55,000. But BBMP has not paid the service provider operating the collection centre and the system.

The operations of the DWCCs, such as water, electricity, payment to sorters etc, were to be managed by Manjunath himself. Manjunath had put three vehicles in April to streamline collection in Part B of Bellandur ward. He put additional three vehicles starting May 2017, to attend to ward 150. Residents were happy to see collection happening since some parts of Bellandur, such as Doddakannelli, Boganahalli, Ambalipura etc. never had regular collection of waste.

The payment file for dry waste collection has moved from officers to officers in various levels in the ward and the zone. At one stage the Chief Accounts Officer even said the file was going to be sent back to JC but the file is lost!

Citizens pitch in to help the contractor

We have been working in the Kasa Muktha Bellandur team to solve the garbage issues. Aiming to close this payment issue, we tried to intervene and understand the delay in payments. We had to spend pretty much an entire day in BBMP for this. The original file was in Superintendent Engineer’s office. We got him to sign the files again. Then we went to the Accounts Department in the Zonal BBMP office to get it verified.

The officials indicated that they didn’t know where to get the money from. We asked them to call the the other zones that have already paid service providers, to see what they’ve done. When that didn’t work, we made a phone call to head office for clarification.

After clarification from head office, the officials have agreed to make the payments in two days. After much running around, we have finally managed to get the bills for both 150 and 84 signed. However, the payment is yet to reach the DWCC operator’s account!

Why this mattered to us, the citizens

As citizen volunteers, this is something that is beyond us, but we had to do this, as otherwise the system of separate dry and wet waste collection we built over time would get broken.

Volunteers in the ward spent months on road, visiting each apartment and house, asking people to segregate waste, and assuring them that if they segregate the waste, it would get picked up separately without getting mixed. Earlier people used to say they won’t segregate waste because the waste was getting mixed up by contractors during collection.

But now here we are, with the collection system that we wanted, but BBMP refusing to pay the system!

Benefits of separate collection as we see:

– Wet waste requires auto-tippers to prevent waste workers from touching the waste. Dry waste requires luggage autos to collect bulky recyclables. Separate collection can improve vehicle design as per stream of waste.

– Collection by DWCC operator has more incentive to pick up clean segregated waste as the destination is his center. Hence segregation levels will improve.

– No more excuse by residents that “BBMP mixes everything even if I segregate”.
How the ward has changed its system.

– Burning and dumping of dry waste has dramatically reduced.

Ever since the new system was introduced, the dry waste is getting collected between 6.30 am to 12 noon every day in the ward. There were times when the contractors stood in the lorry points and took the waste themselves, along with educating people on separating dry waste.

In April, the dry waste collected in Bellandur ward was 13 tonnes according to the data compiled by Hasiru Dala, but now in August, the dry waste collected is 83 tonnes per month. Every auto collects 600-700 kgs of dry waste per vehicle per day.

With 22% of reject waste in the ward, the percentage of dry waste is still very good.

The excuse officials gave for not paying was that the system was new, as the BBMP never had a separate work order to collect dry waste separately. Payment for dry waste collectors in South zone was done in a week, but in Mahadevapura it is taking months.

We hope the payments will be made on time and the overall efficiency of the BBMP officers at ward and zonal level improve, to help the dry waste centres operate without problems.

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About Kasamukta Bellandur 1 Article
Kasamukta Bellandur is a group of volunteers working for better waste management inside Bellandur ward, in Bengaluru.