BMC money to monitor city sweepers ‘goes to waste’
Sep 25, 2012
Source : The Times of India


BHUBANESWAR: The city civic body's whopping expenditure of Rs 1.65 crore on mobile-governance project has raised several eyebrows with citizens terming the exercise as "white elephant". Though BMC had launched the hi-tech project nearly a month ago to keep an eye on sanitation workers playing truant at workplace, garbage continues to remain scattered at major places in the city.
A private firm, which will take the staggering amount for rendering two-year service, has been assigned to click the photographs of labourers on the field to know whether they are shirking their duties. Going by the features of the project, a cell phone would capture real-time images of workers at garbage transfer units with the date, time, latitude and longitude of the photos. The pictures would be uploaded to a central server located at the BMC office to help citizens know about the online service.
"It is nothing but wasteful expenditure of public money. BMC should not have spent the huge money just to keep an eye on sweepers," said Siddharth Das, president of Acharya Vihar Parishad, a resident welfare association. "We don't think the project is paying off because heaps of garbage is still lying in city," Das said.
Urban management experts doubt whether BMC's technological leap would solve the sanitation problem of city. "Instead of installing expensive technology, BMC should spend more money on sensitization programmes for citizens, sanitation contractors and sweepers," said Piyush Rout, an urban management consultant. "One can also keep vigil on the waste collection manually and at a much lower cost," Rout added.
Sources said the terms of agreement between BMC and the private firm managing the mobile governance project are silent on the supervision of the firm's performance. "Who will supervise the firm's performance? There is also no penal provision in the agreement incase the project fails," a source said.
While BMC officials claimed that the mobile governance project will improve delivery of sanitation services in city, they avoided responding questions whether or not the cell phones have so far caught anyone evading responsibilities.
"We are hopeful of seeing positive results in the coming days. We will take action against employees for dereliction of duties," BMC commissioner Sanjib Kumar Mishra told TOI. "On BMC website, browsers can see the positioning of garbage bins and know whether or not those are cleaned in all the 60 wards," Mishra said.
Meanwhile, the civic body has served show-cause notices to some sanitation contractors for not installing dustbins and containers in markets. "Some contractors have been warned of cancellation of their agreements if they do not improve service in the wards assigned to them," Mishra said. Out of the 60 wards, BMC had earlier outsourced cleaning and sanitation activities in 40 wards to four private contractors. 

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