The municipal corporation of District South is running short on machinery and sanitation staff, which is why the Sindh government handed over the contract of front-end collection and disposal of solid waste from the district to a Chinese firm. The foreign company, however, has failed to bring in the machinery and manpower required to clean the district despite drawing billion of rupees annually.
The Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and a Chinese firm, Changyi Kangie Sanitation Engineering Company Limited, inked an agreement to collect and dispose off solid waste from District South on October 26, 2016.
This was the plan: SSWMB would have to pay Changyi approximately Rs2.2 billion annually.
Changyi would collect garbage and transfer it to two Garbage Transfer Stations, one each in Hijrat Colony and the Mewa Shah graveyard.
Besides placing dustbins of different capacities, the Chinese firm had to bring in 264 machines, including compactors, side compactors, arm hocks, loaders and motorbikes for door-to-door collection of garbage. The agreement was it had to hire 2,300 sanitation staff, including drivers.
District South had a population of 1.791 million in 2017. The district was divided into two zones: Saddar and Lyari with a total of 31 union councils. Lyari has 15 UCs and Saddar 16. The district produces 1,000kg solid waste daily.
But the Chinese company never followed through.
In violation of the contract, it brought just 40% of the agreed machinery and hired 50% of the sanitation staff, leaving the garbage problem in District South unchanged.
The Chinese company engaged one loader, three arm hocks, six compactors, 15 motorbikes and 27 side compactors for the 15 Lyari UCs. It still needs to bring in two arm hocks, four compactors, four loaders, 17 side compactors and 45 motorbikes.
In the 16 UCs of Saddar, the firm is lifting garbage with the help of three loaders, eight arm hocks, 16 side compactors, 18 motorbikes and 21 compactors. At least three loaders, three arm hocks, 10 compactors, 10 side compactors and 48 motorbikes are missing.
Even staff is running short.
In Lyari, the Chinese brought in 471 people to work as sanitation staff. Of them, 299 staffers belong to the South DMC South and 172 were hired by the Chinese. The Chinese company still needs to hire 429 more people to make Lyari clean.
Similarly, it hired 742 sanitation staff for Saddar. Of them, 416 staffers belong to the South DMC. The firm needs to recruit at least 667 more people.
As the Chinese firm ran short on machinery, it handed over collection and disposal of garbage from Clifton blocks I to VII to another private company. This is the Bilawal House neighbourhood. That contract went to Ovais ‘thekedaar’. SSWMB has also given most of the garbage lifting contracts from GTS to landfill sites to this PPP blue-eyed businessman.
DMC South’s workshop on Nishter Road has a large number of garbage vehicles parked. They are loaders, dumpers and trucks. Several people can also be spotted sitting on benches at the workshop. These are all drivers. When asked why they are not going to lift garbage, they replied that the DMC administration is not issuing fuel to the DMC vehicles.
Before January 2017, the garbage of the district was being lifted by the DMC vehicles and sanitation staff. When SSWMB signed an agreement with the Chinese, DMC South handed over its 1,000 sanitation staff, which included drivers for garbage lifting vehicles and sanitary workers, to the foreign firm.
The Chinese, however, refused to utilise 121 of the DMC drivers and they have all been drawing their salaries without working for the last 30 months. The company even hired 20% of DMC South’s machinery on rent to lift garbage, but has not paid a penny, according to South DMC Chairperson Malik Muhammad Fayyaz.
When contacted, Fayyaz accepted that the DMC drivers handed over to the Chinese company are not being used. He was of the view that there is no harm if 121 South DMC drivers are drawing their monthly salary without working.
He also verified that DMC’s garbage lifting machinery has not been utilised since SSWMB signed a contract with the Chinese company. “If the Chinese company is lifting garbage from the district, then why should the administration bring its vehicles on the roads for the same purpose?” he asked.
When Fayyaz was asked why a separate contract was given to Ovais Thekedaar for front-end collection and disposal of solid waste from Clifton Block I to Block VII, he said the contract was given in 2016 by South DMC Administrator Muhammad Naeem and then the Chinese company extended his contract.