Mounting complaints about Lahore’s garbage problem

Updated August 30, 2019

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There is an increasing number of complaints about the city’s garbage problem due to many issues the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) is facing.  — White Star
There is an increasing number of complaints about the city’s garbage problem due to many issues the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) is facing. — White Star

LAHORE: There is an increasing number of complaints about the city’s garbage problem due to many issues the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) is facing.

The company had recently lost a reputed managing director after he fell out with the Lahore DC on the issue of cleanliness. Two MDs of the company are facing interrogation by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) while another has succeeded in fleeing abroad due to fear of the accountability watchdog.

“What can one expect from a company whose two former MDs are being quizzed (one is in jail) by the NAB. Another former MD had already gone abroad and now the incumbent had taken charge a few months ago,” a source told Dawn on Thursday.

“But the last MD too couldn’t work for not having good working relations with the DC,” he said.

The LWMC is a pioneer public sector solid waste management organisation in Punjab that was formed under section 42 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 in March 2010 after the City District Government of Lahore’s SWM wing allegedly failed to deliver. Following formation of the company, Lahore’s then MCL administrator / DCO Noorul Amin Mengal handed over the assets (human resource, equipment, machines etc) of the SWM wing to the company in 2011.

The company performed well by outsourcing cleanliness services to two foreign companies in most union councils of the city district. Except 22 rural UCs in the city, where the LWMC itself continues performing cleanliness duties, the foreign contractors are performing these duties. The areas falling in the DHA, Cantonment and leading housing projects don’t fall under the ambit of the LWMC’s foreign contractors.

“Actually, the agreement made by the previous government was for seven years that is to expire next year. But the life of the machinery being used by these contractors was five years or so. Breakdown of vehicles hats become a routine matter that is leading to public complaints,” said another source.

“Fear of the NAB, transfers, poor condition of machinery etc are the main causes behind the worsening situation,” he added.

“Lahore is a vast city that needs proper attention and maintenance on a daily basis. But it looks that the sitting government is not paying attention towards this as it is just appreciating NAB’s action against the officers, replacing / transferring the officials and digging out scams instead of paying attention towards the real issues,” said Ehtesham, a resident of Township.

He said there had been mess for the last one year or so. “If the government continues neglecting this issue, Lahore will soon become Karachi,” he warned.

The LWMC spokesman told Dawn that it was wrong to compare Lahore to Karachi. He said the foreign contractors who are being paid $17 per ton waste collection (total 5,500 tons) and disposal on a daily basis, needed to replace their equipment and vehicles that were brought seven years ago.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2019