BBMP, SWM experts differ on usefulness of SPV

The entity is expected to manage the city’s growing garbage

The State Cabinet’s decision to establish a separate entity – Bengaluru Solid Waste Management (SWM) Company – to manage the city’s growing garbage has received aa mixed response.

While Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials point out that the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be a focussed agency to manage SWM, which will help with quick decisions and implementation, SWM experts disagree. Pointing out to the organisational structure of the SPV, they said it is highly bureaucratised, and not very different from the BBMP.

BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said while sweeping the streets and pourakarmikas will continue to be the responsibility of the civic body, the door-to-door collection, secondary collection and transportation to waste processing plants and management of the plants will be the responsibility of the SPV. While the BBMP’s share will be 51%, the government’s share will be 49%. The company will be headed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department. “The other details will be worked out and formalised soon,” he said.

H.C. Sharatchandra, member of the High Court-appointed Technical Guidance Committee, told The Hindu that constitution of the SPV was a welcome move. “The government has finally realised that BBMP cannot handle the city’s SWM,” he said.

However, he said for the SPV to be successful, all the activities related to SWM, including door-to-door collection and transportation, should come under the ambit of the company. Stating that the SPV could have been constituted following wider consultation with experts and citizens’ groups, he said there was also conflict with the new BBMP Act, which vests SWM responsibilities on the civic body.

BBMP officials, on condition of anonymity, said the plan to constitute a separate body for SWM was mooted in 2016. “There is a lot of interference in decisions related to SWM, be it from politicians or the contractor lobby. The SPV will be a focussed agency, which will help bring in much-needed technological interventions,” the official said and pointed out that it will not be very different from Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) though supply of water and maintenance of underground drainage system is one of BBMP’s obligatory duties.

Former Opposition Leader Abdul Wajid disagreed. He maintained that constitution of the SPV would not solve the problem. Fearing lack of accountability in the SPV, he said the government could have strengthened the BBMP with stricter monitoring of the functioning of waste processing plants. “The government has admitted that it has no confidence in the IAS officials at the helm in the BBMP,” he charged.

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