What makes Garbage the new oil?

Despite the Karnataka High Court continuously rebuking the local civic body on poor waste management, there is no solution in the picture for Bengaluru's garbage issue.

Can this be one of the reasons? An anonymous official believes that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elected representative and officials have been proposing to their companions and friends to get bag garbage contracts.

Although rules state neither elected representatives nor officials will be engaged in the contract procedure of any civic works, BBMP has granted waste management contracts in the city's around 50 wards to those who ward corporators have suggested. This, they say, clearly violates the High Court's order issued on 19th August 2013 by Justice B V Nagarathna and N Kumar.

It has been observed that in several wards, garbage management contracts have been given to those who were suggested by area corporators. BBMP's zonal commissioners believe there might be more than 50 who their boon companion has recommended.

A BBMP official expressed how corporators can suggest someone's name. BBMP has not awarded nor called any tender. Existing contractors were fired based on the corporator's suggestion for a new contractor. The bills of the old contractor were paid, saying 100% of the work was finished. Now the question arises: when 100% of the work has been done, what is the need to fire him?

Notably, the file has been placed by the local officials of ward no 36, Mathikere ward, to hire a new contractor who was suggested by the local corporator. The file has been submitted to the Special Commissioner (SWM), D Randeep.

The General Secretary of BBMP garbage contract association, Balasubramaniam, stated that most of the contractors are cronies, party workers, relatives and benzamides of corporators. Corporators have been running the waste management work in the city - supply of auto tippers, garbage collection and cleaning in their wards, etc. According to the People's Representation Act, they are not supposed to suggest anyone for this. If they do so, their council membership may be cancelled.

Also, this is one of the reasons why the corporators aren't declaring their assets to Lokayukta, as they can't prove accountability for these transactions. This has been happening for several years in the city, but no one is questioning it. That's why Bengaluru's garbage concern still needs to be solved.

When I contacted D Randeep, he stated that they had awarded the waste collection work and supply of auto tippers to those contractors who corporators have suggested, as this has been happening for many years. When the BBMP finalises no tender, we must allot the work to someone. These suggestions given by corporators are analysed by AEEs and JCs of the zone, who will complete it.

The Head Office comes into the picture when they call for tenders and grant work orders to a specific contractor. But there is nothing wrong with allotting work to those suggested by corporators. If corporators and officials complain about the contractors for not fulfilling their promises, they will replace them.

Chief of BBMP B H Anil Kumar stated that if corporators suggested contractors, it might attract the disqualification of their council membership. Corporators are not authorised to suggest any contractor for public works. This must amount to the Office of Profit and works against High Court's instructions. Meanwhile, the garbage collection work can't be awarded to contractors suggested by corporators. Their council membership might be disqualified if they have suggested contractors.

As per the HC's directions, name lending and benami contracts must be strictly prohibited. Suppose a person entrusted with a contract is found to be a Benamidar or name lender of the corporation's officials or the corporators, including other elected members or nominated members. In that case, the contract is liable to be terminated.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!

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