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Guwahati Municipal Corporation to Overhaul Ineffective Garbage Collection System

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HT Digital

June 18, Tuesday: The Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) is preparing to overhaul its door-to-door garbage collection mechanism following the ineffective execution by ward committees and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). This decision, which comes after extensive deliberations and mounting dissatisfaction among city residents over the current waste management system, marks a significant step towards addressing the city’s sanitation issues.

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During a recent mayor-in-council meeting, GMC officials acknowledged the need for substantial changes to the existing system. A spokesperson for GMC explained, “It was decided in the meeting that the garbage collection mechanism should be overhauled. While NGOs can still be hired if they meet the necessary criteria, the current approach by ward committees and NGOs is being reconsidered.”

Despite the urgency of the proposed changes, several councillors have expressed opposition to the new plan, potentially hindering its implementation. This internal resistance adds complexity to an already challenging issue, highlighting the difficulties in reforming waste management practices.

Historically, GMC provided NGOs with essential equipment such as tricycles, auto vans, shovels, and other amenities to facilitate their work. An initial mobilization advance of Rs 4,00,000 was granted to these organizations to kickstart their operations. The NGOs were tasked with daily garbage collection and proper disposal, yet they largely failed to meet these expectations. The public initially paid the NGOs for garbage collection, but GMC later took over this responsibility, providing the fees directly to the NGOs.

Residents across Guwahati have voiced their dissatisfaction with the inadequate service. One resident from Christian Basti lamented, “Since 2014, the NGOs have never managed to collect garbage on a daily basis.” This sentiment is echoed in various neighborhoods, indicating widespread frustration with the current system.

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A resident of the nursery area highlighted the challenges posed by uncollected garbage, particularly during the monsoon season. “The accumulated waste makes it difficult to commute in our area, causing significant displeasure,” they said. Similarly, a resident from Beltola expressed frustration over the overflow of garbage from large collection vans onto the roads during heavy rains, exacerbating the area’s sanitation issues.

The GMC’s plan to overhaul the garbage collection system is seen as a necessary step to address these grievances. The corporation aims to implement a more efficient and reliable waste management solution, ensuring cleanliness and hygiene across Guwahati. By potentially retaining NGOs that meet stringent criteria, GMC hopes to foster accountability and better service delivery.

The proposed changes come in response to the visible shortcomings of the current system. Despite the equipment and initial funding provided by GMC, the NGOs and ward committees failed to establish a reliable and consistent garbage collection schedule. This has led to piles of uncollected waste, creating health hazards and environmental concerns for the city’s residents.

The GMC’s new plan seeks to address these issues by setting higher standards and stricter criteria for the organizations involved in waste collection. By doing so, the corporation aims to ensure that only capable and accountable entities are entrusted with the task of managing the city’s waste. This approach is expected to improve service delivery and reduce the incidence of uncollected garbage.

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The overhaul also aims to streamline the garbage collection process, making it more transparent and efficient. GMC is considering the use of technology to monitor and manage waste collection activities, ensuring real-time tracking and reporting. This would enable quicker response times to any lapses in service and help maintain higher standards of cleanliness.

As the debate over the new mechanism continues, the residents of Guwahati remain hopeful that the GMC will resolve the garbage collection woes that have plagued the city for years. The corporation’s commitment to improving waste management is a welcome move, reflecting its dedication to enhancing the quality of life for its citizens.

The success of this initiative will depend on the effective implementation of the new system and the cooperation of all stakeholders involved. If GMC can overcome internal resistance and execute its plan effectively, Guwahati could see a significant improvement in its waste management practices, leading to a cleaner and healthier city. The overhaul of the garbage collection system is not just a necessity but a crucial step towards sustainable urban living, ensuring that the city’s waste is managed efficiently and responsibly.

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