In a landmark decision, the state government has approved BBMP’s proposal to build three large garbage transfer stations in different parts of the city at a total cost of Rs 305 crore.
The project aims to end the transfer of garbage from dumpsters to compactors, a practice widely seen as degrading public places.
But the project, which does not include waste treatment, could financially cripple the BBMP, which wants to spend an average of Rs 38 crore a year to transfer just 10% of the total volume of waste it collects across the city.
The project involves the installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance (O&M) of transfer stations with a minimum capacity of 150 tonnes per day (TPD) for municipal solid waste. As per the government order, the cost of installing three stations is estimated at Rs 36.91 crore while the cost of operation and maintenance for seven years will be Rs 267.65 crore. The Rs 305 crore project has been awarded to private company Parishudh Ventures.
Each transfer station should cover at least 10 services. This means that hundreds of automatic dumpsters – which currently travel less than 3 km to move the rubbish to the compactor – may have to travel up to 10 km to transfer the rubbish.
High operating cost
A solid waste management expert said it makes no sense to spend such a huge amount of money just on garbage transfer. “The government should be extra careful because it is spending public money. Dumpsters will be forced to make an unnecessarily longer journey to reach these stations while the transfer of garbage can ideally be done within the service itself,” said the expert, on condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, the concept of garbage transfer stations is not new to the civic body. While the BBMP had announced three years ago the establishment of 50 mini garbage transfer stations (with a capacity of 25 tons per day against 150 tons proposed today), it was only able to set up about 25 stations so far due to lack of space.
Currently, BBMP spends Rs 3 lakh (25 tonnes) per month on O&M of each mini-garbage station. In comparison, operating three large stations will be four times more expensive as the BBMP expects to spend around Rs 1 crore (150 tonnes) per station per month.