RAWALPINDI, Oct 31: The Punjab government is going to abolish the Pindi sanitation department next year and involve a private company to collect garbage and sweep roads and streets.
The provincial government has in this regard invited international bidders. The City District Government Rawalpindi will pay to the private company for the services it will provide.
However, the amount the CDGR will pay to the private company will be collected from the residents.
Initially, the new project will be launched in 46 union councils of the Rawal Town which will be extended to seven tehsils of the district including Murree.
On the directives of the provincial government, the CDGR has hired the services of Solid Waste Management Company of Lahore for consultancy to hire the company for its solid waste management.
“The CDGR will collect fee from the residents and pay it to the private company,” a senior CDGR official on condition of anonymity told Dawn.
He said that the CDGR wanted to save Rs481 million of the sanitation department. He said that the main focus of the CDGR was to privatise the department at Rawal Town.
Interestingly, he said the CDGR had already failed to provide sanitation facilities to the Potohar Towns urban union councils along Benazir Bhutto International Airport and two union councils adjacent to Chaklala Scheme-III. The other six tehsils including Gujar Khan, Taxila, Murree, Kotli Sattian and Kahuta were also ignored by the city government.
According to the rules of local government ordinance 2002, the city district government is responsible for providing sanitation facilities to the residents. However, the CDGR has failed to expand the sanitation department for all seven tehsils and worked only in Rawal Town.
When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) told Dawn that the provincial government wanted to make the cities neat and clean and in this regard it had invited international companies to take over the sanitation department.
He said the private company would lift the garbage and the CDGR would pay for it.
When asked about the fate of over 200 sanitary workers in the department, the DCO said that their services would also be handed over to the company which would decide their fate. “After the arrival of private company, the ghost sanitation employees will also come to the surface,” he said.
When asked about the sanitation tax, the DCO said, “You know that Defence Housing Authority and Bahria Town are collecting sanitation charges and in return provide better environment … such charges improve the services”.
“However, initially we will not impose sanitation tax,” he said.
On the other hand, Municipal Workers League Chairman Changez Khan has warned the government of protest if it failed to protect the jobs of sanitary workers.
He said that the sanitary workers worked day and night and in return, the government failed to give job protection. He said that more than 500 sanitary workers were working on daily wages and instead of regularising their services, the government started downsizing in the name of privatisation.