Garbage still piling up in Rawalpindi

New waste management contractor due to take over soon, but work may hit snag.

Our Correspondent July 16, 2014

RAWALPINDI: Despite repeated promises by the relevant authorities, issues surrounding the disposal of solid waste still remain. Heaps of solid waste can be seen in many parts of the city. Residents demanded an immediate solution to the problem as it presents a huge problem for them.

Adnaan Nawaz, a resident of Chakra, told The Express Tribune that the public was worried by the issue. He further said that the solid waste could cause the spread of many diseases, but such matters were not prioritised by the government.

Muhammad Hashaam, a resident of Saddar Cantt said that the Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) staff rarely visit the area, even though heaps of waste had become a nuisance for residents.

Muhammad Aslam, who lives near Committee Chowk, said RWMC was now dumping waste under Soan Bridge, which could prove to be dangerous in the monsoon season.

A Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) official told The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity that the government was supposed to release funds for the project in the last budget, but nothing had been set aside. He added that every company had to provide a bank guarantee to the government before starting the work.

RWMC Managing Director (MD) Irfan Ahmad Qureshi told The Express Tribune that the Turkish company would start its work within a month. He said that there were some formalities which needed to be fulfilled and work would be initiated after the completion of those formalities. He added that it was the decision of the government whether or not it demanded a bank guarantee, while explaining that the company was already in the process of filing one. On the funding allocation issue, he said the government would provide funds when the contractor started its work.

According to Qureshi, a temporary transfer station had been formed under the Soan Bridge which would soon be abolished. Additionally, he stated that the contractor would start ‘mechanical dumping’ and there would be no need for temporary sites after that. He reiterated that the company needed some mobilisation time and would start work after that.

Solid Waste Management District Officer (DO) Dr Mazhar Azim said that the government had handed over responsibility for solid waste management to RWMC from March 1, adding that only RWMC could answer questions relating to any related problems.

PML (N) MPA and RWMC Chairman Raja Hanif told The Express Tribune that the contractor would begin work soon, adding that they were finalising sites for the company to park its dump trucks.

He said it had been decided that the company would shift close to the RWMC office, but the RWMC workers union was not ready to accept the decision, adding that this was the main reason behind the delay and would be resolved soon.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2014.



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