SURAT/NEW DELHI: Surat is showing the way to Delhi and other big cities that are struggling to manage garbage spilling out of ‘dhalaos’ and filling the air with foul smell. The city’s municipal body has installed 43 underground garbage bins, each of which can contain up to 1.5 tonnes of waste as a part of the Smart City Mission and these are fitted with sensors to send alerts to the control room as soon as 70% of the container is full.
These underground bins have been placed on footpaths and each of them have two inlets for throwing waste — one for individuals and the other for municipal carts bringing collected waste — to help people avoid littering.
“We will be placing 75 such bins. After this started in a limited area, more and more municipal councillors are making similar demands. Once people have good experience and see the result, they will push for better facilities. We will be expanding this to other areas as well,” said M Thennarasan, commissioner of Surat Municipal Commission. He is also the director and chairman of Surat Smart City project.
At Dumbhal, which falls in the textile market area of Surat, this correspondent saw how huge metal bins were lifted using cranes and the entire waste was emptied mechanically without any individual touching it. Thennarasan’s deputy CY Bhatt said this was the best option that the municipal body could go for as these did not leave any foul smell. A private player has been roped in to manage these bins. “It’s a good initiative. Even if it rains, the water won’t get inside. This should be done in other areas as well,” said a passer-by who lived in nearby Mukti Nagar.
Surat generates about 2,100 tonnes of garbage per day and about 800 tonnes is processed and treated.
The rest was disposed of scientifically, officers claimed. Thennarasan added that they would install a system in place to treat about 2,000 tonnes of waste daily.
The municipal body has engaged 425 vehicles which ply on 900 routes for door to door collection of waste. Each vehicle has RFID tag and GPS for real-time tracking and to prevent leakage.
The city is also unique in that it treats 57 million litres of sewage every day and turns it into 40 million litres of potable water, which is supplied to the nearby Pandesara industrial estate, which has several dyeing and printing mills. “Narendra Modi as chief minister had visited Singapore in 2007 where he saw such a plant and pushed the idea of having it in Gujarat. The municipal body has been supplying treated water to industry for the past four years. The treated water meets all parameters of high quality drinking water,” said Anand Vashi, director of Enviro Control Associates, which runs the plant under the PPP model. Another plant to produce 32 million litres of treated water per day will be ready by February.
Thennesaran said besides meeting infrastructure requirement, the municipal body is working to take care of the huge migrant population in the textile and diamond city. The corporation has awarded work to build five housing projects to provide transit accommodation to migrant workers. “They will be allowed to stay by paying the monthly rent that we will fix. These will be ready in 18 months. There will be both dormitories and rooms for families. In the second phase, we will take up six more projects,” he added. Though the Centre has been talking about this rental housing scheme for over three years, not much has been done to formulate the policy.