Chandigarh: Councillors gearing up for yet another jaunt, this time to Goa

By, Chandigarh
Jul 27, 2022 03:29 AM IST

₹14-lakh tour planned to visit Goa to study its waste processing technology; agenda to come up before the Chandigarh MC General House at its July 29 meeting

Even as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar is finalising the plans for the city’s new integrated solid waste processing plant, the BJP-led municipal corporation is planning to splurge 14 lakh on yet another tour to study garbage management.

Despite lakhs spent on study tours, there is no notable change on the ground as Chandigarh continues to struggle with issues of sanitation, water supply and waste management. Most of the reports of these tours have come under scanner for being copy-paste jobs or lifted from internet. (HT Photo)
Despite lakhs spent on study tours, there is no notable change on the ground as Chandigarh continues to struggle with issues of sanitation, water supply and waste management. Most of the reports of these tours have come under scanner for being copy-paste jobs or lifted from internet. (HT Photo)

After touring Germany, Austria, Italy, Coimbatore, Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai and Ahmedabad over the past 16 years to study their advancements in waste processing, Chandigarh councillors will now be packing bags for Goa.

An agenda for the tour will be submitted before the MC General House meeting on July 29.

The four-day tour to Goa to study its North Goa Solid Waste Processing Plant has been proposed for all councillors, along with MC officers.

Notably, MC in 2021 had given the task of preparing a detailed project report and request for proposal (RFP) for a new integrated solid waste processing plant to IIT Ropar.

The decision had come after the MC General House had contended that technical experts should decide on the issue, as the councillors didn’t have the requisite expertise.

For around a year after taking over the existing solid waste processing plant in Sector 25 and being advised by IIT Roorkee that a new plant with more capacity was needed, the councillors delved on the type of technology to be used.

Several firms had even made presentations on the issue before the councillors. But after they failed to reach a decision, it was decided to rope in technical experts.

Currently, under the supervision of the UT administration, MC and IIT Ropar are in final stages of preparing the DPR and RFP for the new plant. Earlier, expression of interest was invited from different firm to showcase latest technology.

City’s poor solid waste processing was among the primary reasons for its sharp slide from the 16th position in the 2020 Swachh Survekshan rankings to the 66th spot in 2021.

‘Goa effective in dealing with waste’

The agenda reads, “MC after taking over the garbage processing plant is still in the process of finalising various technologies.”

Justifying the tour, the agenda states that solid waste plant of the “City of Goa” is quite effective in dealing with the waste with minimum inert material going to the landfill site.

“The visit will provide first-hand knowledge of working of solid waste in the ‘City of Goa’ where approximately 250 tonnes of waste is treated,” it added. Chandigarh produces more than 550 MT (metric tonnes) of waste on a daily basis.

While MC commissioner Anindita Mitra is learnt to have objected to the agenda, it was included in the matters to be tabled before the House after a push by mayor Sarbjit Kaur.

‘Waste of money, scam’: Opposition raps BJP

Terming it a total waste of taxpayers’ money, Chandigarh Congress president Harmohinder Singh Lucky said, “It is yet another scam by the BJP. Why are they wasting people’s money by visiting Goa? It is just a sham for leisure. Why not study a city that topped the Swachhta rankings? Which city in Goa is known for its performance in the Swachhta rankings?”

Notably, even though Goa improved its position in the 2021 Swachh Survekshan rankings among states, none of its prominent cities are even in the top 100 cleanest cities of the country.

As per the 2021 rankings, Goa’s capital Panaji was ranked 208 among the 304 cities with a population between 25,000 and 50,000 and Mapusa was at the 238th spot. Mormugao and Margao were ranked 115 and 124, respectively, among cities with 50,000 to 1,00,000 residents in the western region.

Opposing the study tour, Chandigarh AAP president Prem Garg said, “Only recently the mayor and MC officials went to several cities, including Mumbai and Ahmedabad, to study their waste processing plants. Now they want councillors to tour Goa. Why waste so much of taxpayers’ hard-earned money when such decisions are best left to technical experts? If they really want the councillors to increase their knowledge, why not refer to the vast information available online?”

Defending the study tour, mayor Sarbjit Kaur said, “Most the councillors are new and need to be informed first hand about these technological options.”

On why Goa, she said, “Goa has improved tremendously in the rankings in the last couple of years. It has the latest technology on the issue with similar solid waste management needs as Chandigarh.”

She further said the agenda was being brought before the House, so that all parties can decide whether to go or not. In the 35-member Chandigarh MC House, both the AAP and the BJP have 14 councillors. The Congress has six seats and the Shiromani Akali Dal one.

Councillors on the go

2006: Germany, Austria and Italy to study garbage processing

2007: Singapore and Bangkok for managing horticulture waste ( 20 lakh)

2010: Kolkata and Gangtok for better sanitation ( 16 lakh)

2013: Israel for improving water supply management ( 7 lakh); Delhi for latest technology for tertiary treated water

2014: Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata, again for improving sanitation ( 28 lakh)

2015: Coimbatore for door-to-door garbage collection

2016: Uttar Pradesh, again for improvements in garbage processing

2017: Mumbai, Pune and Visakhapatnam, again for sanitation ( 18 lakh)

2019: Religious tour to Leh in light of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak ( 10 lakh).

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