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ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI)’s proposed project to outsource garbage collection in all the 50 union councils of Islamabad seems to be a pipe dream because of the poor financial health of the corporation.

Whereas in fighting between the CDA and MCI over the devolution of assets and manpower is another factor which has been impeding the start of the project.

Several months ago, in response to an advertisement by the MCI, three companies submitted their bids. But when the MCI opened the bids, some employees of the sanitation directorate backed by the CDA employees’ union filed a case in court against the project.

And now, the MCI officials got an excuse of the court case for stopping the project. Sources said when the officials worked out a rough estimate that over Rs100 million would be spent on the project, the corporation slowed down the project. Currently, the MCI does not have any budget to execute the project.

“This project is a political gimmick, nothing else. Without doing any homework if the MCI announces any project the result would be zero,” said Ali Awan, the opposition leader in the MCI.

He said it was unfortunate that there was no garbage collection system in 32 of the total 50 union councils. “The federal government should own the local government system. Even after over two years, the government has not released any fund for this system.” Mr Awan said he had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court seeking the court’s intervention to strengthen the local government.

“Yes, there are financial issues as well as a court case that’s why the project is facing a delay,” said Director Sanitation MCI Sardar Khan Zimri. He, however, claimed that soon the project would be started.

The CDA employees have already filed several cases against the devolution of assets and transfer of employees to the MCI and because of the court cases the process of devolution has not been completed so far.

At present, the MCI through a contractor and its own staff is collecting garbage from the urban areas only. There is no system for the collection of garbage in the 32 union councils in the rural areas whose residents are forced to throw garbage on vacant plots, open field or into nullahs.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2018