The Greater Chennai Corporation is fast tracking its move to privatise garbage collection at a much higher price. The garbage collection workers conducted a demonstration on Monday, July 8, against the move which is expected to cost the corporation more than what is being spent as of now. The workers’ union allege that the private companies and officers of the corporations are gearing up for a massive scam of around Rs. 1000 crore while the fate of the employees hangs on the balance if the privatisation move materialises.
The Greater Chennai Corporation has 15 regions out of which only three regions are currently allocated to private companies for garbage collection. However, the latest move is allegedly aimed at allocating all the 15 regions to the private companies at a very high rate. This will lead to more expenditure for the corporation at the cost of public money.
The Chennai corporation garbage to the tune of 5,200 tonnes of garbage per day, out of which the private company claims to collect around 2,300 tonnes of garbage. This claim, however, seems to be highly doctored. The amount paid for the private company is Rs. 1,091 per tonne. Now, if the corporation’s aim to allocate all the regions to the private companies materialises, then the corporation may have to shed an additional Rs. 1,000 crore. Subsequently, the general public would have to bear the extra burden.
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The workers’ union allege that the corporation officers and the private companies are colluding to create this massive corruption exercise. They also allege that the permanent garbage collection workers are yet to be paid the wages for the past 20 months.
The general secretary of the Chennai Corporation Red Flag Union, P Srinivasalu told NewsClick, “The present move of the Chennai Corporation is aimed at making profit for the private companies and huge losses for the corporation and the people. Presently, a company named Ramki Enro is entrusted with the duty of collecting garbage in three regions and the tender ends in August this year. Now, instead of taking over the garbage collection, the corporation has called for tenders to collect garbage in all the 15 regions. This will lead to job losses of thousands of garbage collection workers.”
He also added, “The tenders quoted are much higher than the amount spent by the corporation now. This will end up in higher expense for the corporation. Subsequently, this burden will be passed on to the general public. The people will be forced to pay more tax to the corporation only because a private company is doing the same job which could be done by the corporation itself.”
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The union had filed a case against the move for privatisation by the corporation and had achieved a verdict in their favour. But the corporation in the name of policy decision has fast-tracked the move of privatising garbage collection. The workers’ union has been raising the issue for the past one year in various forums, but they are yet to receive the attention of the general public, whose money is at stake.
The union has also demanded to consider regularisation of the workers since they joined services as temporary workers from 2006, so that they become entitled to pension after their service.