They had been hired to check the feasibility of implementing the Indore model of garbage collection

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is saddled with a bill of ₹2 crore from consultants hired to check the feasibility of implementing the Indore model of garbage collection, which has since been shelved. This comes at a time when civic chief N. Manjunath Prasad recently admitted in the BBMP council that the corporation has just ₹68 crore in its accounts.

Senior civic officials insisted that the money has not gone to waste. BBMP’s Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) Sarfaraz Khan told The Hindu that the ₹2 crore consultation fee was not just for the collection and transportation aspect. “There are many solutions that are in place in Indore, which has been topping Swachch Bharat consistently, that can be replicated here, such as biomethanisation plants and smart control room. The consultants will also give advice on setting up transfer stations and improving the running of processing plants among other things,” he said.

Initially, the consultants were asked to take up a feasibility study on implementing the Indore model in five wards.

“The study was taken up in only two wards – Jogupalya (Mayor M. Goutham Kumar’s ward) and Jakkur,” said Mr. Khan.

The BBMP had sought approval from the State government on payment of fees, and the cost would be re-looked at. “The fees includes hiring 80-odd people for undertaking surveys and collating data, and setting up an office. The payment will be based on performance and only for services rendered,” he said.

Under the Indore model of waste collection, which was backed by a Mayor-led committee, a single vehicle with separate compartments would be used to collect dry and wet waste. Under the garbage tenders now approved, contractors will be responsible for collecting and transporting wet and sanitary waste while dry waste would be collected by ragpickers from Dry Waste Collection Centres (DWCCs) or self-help groups.

Push for biomethanisation

Kalpana Kar, a member of the Technical Guidance Committee (TGC), pointed out that the Indore model proposal was not even placed before the committee for discussion. TGC had pushed for decentralised processing by setting up more biomethanisation plants as an efficient and sustainable solution. However, the 13 biomethanisation plants in the city are not being operated.

Professor Chanakya from the Indian Institute of Science, who is also a TGC member, told The Hindu that an economical model for biomethanisation plants had been suggested, which is yet to be implemented.

Another member of the committee, H.C. Sharathchandra, who is the former chairperson of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, pointed out that this is not the first time that the BBMP has hired consultants to provide SWM solutions, adding that none of the recommendations made by those hired earlier had been implemented. This, he said, was due to the lack of policy continuity.

Members of the TGC are keen on setting up of a separate board for SWM. “We are convinced that BBMP cannot manage the city’s waste. There is also no political will in implementing workable solutions,” Mr. Sharathchandra said.

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