Solid waste management in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) area is in a mess. With shortage of staff already plaguing the department, the monsoons have brought up a nasty problem as the department takes on over 450 metric tonnes of garbage every day. At the helm of the job is a small team of 19 sanitary inspectors, 110 supervisors and 1,634 sanitary workers - not enough to keep the municipal area clean.
Accusing the department of being inept, the AMC's corporators have alleged that at least 20 per cent of the sanitary workers have sublet their share of the work private contractors, thus hampering routine duties. The politicians also alleged that the municipal administration is shying away from any action against such workers.
While Jayashree Kulkarni, in-charge of solid waste management in the AMC, refuted such allegations, a senior officer from the department admitted that often, sanitary workers assign jobs to their kin on medical grounds.
With no obligations to the duty at hand and no authority to report to, private workers often slack at work. Corporator Raju Shinde said the civic body officers were "silently watching" the happenings. "These sanitary workers have appointed private workers on monthly salaries ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 to perform duties on their behalf. The private workers often fail to do the job, while the regular workers engage themselves in other activities. Civic officials still mark them as present," Shinde alleged. The corporator alleged that the practice has been prevailing in the AMC for a while now, and it has gone up in recent times. "Many women employees have also started appointing private workers. The trend is fast picking up among the AMC workers, but the civic body does not want to rustle a hornet's nest," Shinde added.
Those facing the brunt of the problem in an unclean city are its citizens. "Garbage can be seen on streets, public places, footpaths and road dividers. The situation has worsened with the rains, when sanitary workers do not clean up the garbage for three or four days," said Aurangabad resident Kishore Thorat, "The AMC's solid waste management system is a big fiasco and people all over the city are facing the consequences of it."
Vijay Diwan, member, Marathwada Statutory Development Board, said the proxy workers neither follow the garbage cleaning schedule, nor do they segregate dry and wet garbage. "They only remove garbage from some of the important locations in the city, while much of it remains untouched in most of colonies. It is visible all over the city now, which shows that the civic body has lost the administrative control over the system," said Diwan.
Former opposition leader in AMC and sitting corporator Zafar Khan alleged that the municipal body's regular sanitary workers in his municipal area had sublet the work to private workers. "These private workers come and go in no time. Because of this, garbage is seen on streets," he said.
Former group leader in AMC and sitting corporator Raju Vaidya said that the civic body had provided uniforms to sanitary workers, but no one seems to follow the dress code. "It is practically not feasible to distinguish between the real employees of the AMC and the private workers. Some of the sanitary workers are taking advantage of this and manipulating it," said Vaidya. He emphasised surprise check-ups to stop the practice.