BAHAWALNAGAR: Heaps of garbage have turned the residential localities of Bahawalnagar city into filth depots.

This is despite the fact that a landfill site was established several years ago near the city and equipment bought for the purpose.

The Punjab Municipal Development Fund Company (PMDFC) launched the “Punjab Municipal Services Improvement Project” in 2008, under which the Bahawalnagar Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) made an agreement with the PMDFC for the construction of the landfill site. For the site, nine acres and three kanals were acquired at Mauza Musa Bhota near Bahawalnagar-Arifwala Bypass.

On Oct 22, 2012, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inaugurated the Rs90 million project.

The project had four arm-roll vehicles, 65 containers, one tractor-driven water boozer, two tractors, two tractors with mechanical sweepers, 186 handcarts (type-I and II) and 612 nylon containers.

Up to 315 TMA sanitary workers were to perform the duty.

The system was to carry 60 tons garbage from the city every day.

The capacity, however, remained a paper work if the landfill site and heaps of garbage in the city are to be viewed.

Not only the established dumping site is without its utility and equipments are also rusting at the TMA workshop.

In fact, vacant plots in the city are being used as filth depots.

Former Kisan Board president Pir Muhammad Husain Bodla said the project was a white elephant, as it consumed Rs90 million and still hundreds of thousands were being spent monthly on fuel and maintenance of equipment and vehicles.

TMA Administrator Tariq Bukhari, who assumed the charge of his office six months back, said he was surprised to hear that such a facility existed there.

Tehsil Officer of Infrastructure and Services Abdul Razzaq, who is in charge of the project, said though the project was partially functional and garbage and wastes usually dumped at its proposed site but sometimes people sought dumping wastes at their under-construction sites.

“That is why it seems that garbage and waste is not being dumped at its proposed site,” he added.

He said that about Rs2.5 million was being spent on fuel and about Rs65,000 on the maintenance of the vehicles.

He said they had requisitioned funds for the repair of the mechanical sweeper, which would be made functional soon.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2016