Due to lack of proper road infrastructure leading to the Solid Waste Management Plant Lamdeng and its premises in Manipur, garbage collection drivers and collectors are facing untold problems every day in performing their service.
And, even as the Manipur government claims to aim for a clean city, the road used by garbage drivers for carrying collected waste materials are in deplorable condition; repairing the road that leads to Solid Waste Management Plant Lamdeng is nothing but a dream for the garbage collectors.
During a visit to the said site with some media persons on Thursday, drivers of garbage collection were seen having a hard time reaching the site. The media persons also came across a vehicle which almost got stuck while entering the dumping site of the plant.
Tomba (name changed), one of the young drivers, who goes door-to-door to collect garbage, told the media persons that waste collection is one of the most hazardous jobs and not many people want to do it. "With rapid urbanisation, the role of garbage collection is increasing each day but our sufferings and problems are unheard and unseen by authorities concerned most of the time, as if they are non-existent in the society," Tomba lamented.
He further said that absence of proper road infrastructure that leads to waste management sites and within its campus has driven them to face lots of problems in performing their duties. Driving a poor condition vehicle loaded with garbage on a pathetic road and trying not to drop garbage on the road is difficult, he pointed out.
“Most part of the road from Iroishemba to Lamdeng, which is around 6 km, is not in good shape. On top of this, some portions of the dumping site are all scattered with semi liquid effluent that makes them inconvenient to drive and they sometimes get stuck in the middle of the path. We are travelling this tough route at least thrice a day risking our lives,” he explained while appealing to the authorities concerned to at least repair the road of the said site at the earliest.
Another driver, who identified himself as Thoiba, also said that they are doing their service in the interest of society with great risk. However, due to poor road conditions, they sometimes get punished by the local people of Lamdeng when garbage falls from their vehicles, he informed.
“We have to pay a hefty fine if waste materials fall from a vehicle and it is not as if we throw them intentionally,” Thoiba said, adding that sometimes it is difficult to face such a situation. “The authorities concerned should at least understand our problem so that our interest in serving the society may not be lost,” he stated.
Plant Manager, Solid Waste Management Plant, Lamdeng RK Madhurjit Singh also accepted that garbage collectors are facing huge problems triggered by poor road conditions. He, however, couldn’t ascertain who is responsible for improving the road condition of the plant site, i.e., if it should be by the state government or the outsourced company of the plant, IEC-TSL Ingenious Energy LLP.
Madhurjit further said that as many as 13 NGOs of garbage collection came for disposal of waste material every day. The actual dumping capacity of the plant is 60 tonnes. But with the increase of area coverage and waste disposal, the plant is receiving 120 tonnes on an average every day, he informed.
He said that the plant is functioning with so many difficulties due to lack of adequate machinery. However, they manage to perform the service of making compose (manure) from collected waste but till date, their target of power generation from the plant is unable to be carried out.
Talking about the power outage issue, he also drew the attention of authorities concerned for regular supply of electricity so that their processing service of collected waste is not hampered.
It may be mentioned that the foundation stone of Solid Waste Management Plant Lamdeng was laid in February 2009 and started functioning since 2014.