The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) decision to install litter bins made of stainless steel has come under the scanner after civic activists demanded an inquiry into the Rs6.5 crore purchase deal.
As proposed in its 2012-13 budget, the civic body had announced to install 20,000 litter bins of 6.5 litre capacity at 10,000 locations across the city. However, citing security concerns, the number was slashed to half last year. Even as reducing the number of bins is set to cause inconvenience to residents, installing litter bins of stainless steel, vulnerable to theft, has evoked suspicion.
Besides, steel, the corporation has considered installation of three other models made of galvanized iron (GI) and two of fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP).
"The BMC had last installed pole-mounted litter bins of stainless steel in 2006. All such bins got stolen within a year. Failing to learn from the experience, the corporation has again installed twin bins made of steel. One can get to see those at Carter Road and H-west ward itself now," Anil Joseph, president of the Bandra's Perry Road Residents' Association, said.
The association has filed a written complaint with the H-west ward and also additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani, demanding an inquiry into the Rs6.5-crore deal. "It seems the BMC wants to help some company gain monetary benefits out of the deal. Hence, we have put forth the complaint in written," Joseph added.
Nikhil Desai, a civic activist associated with NGO AGNI, too expressed surprise at the BMC's decision. "The corporation has installed such bins at 13 locations in the F-north ward (Matunga, Sion). Let's see how long these survive," Desai, a resident of Kings' Circle, said.
Despite repeated attempts, Adtani remained unavailable for his version. A senior official attached to the solid waste management department, said, "The bins are being installed by ward offices. We are supplying them the bins as per requests from the local offices. If they want, we can supply wards bins of fibre too," the officer added.
When queried if the BMC was going to investigate the matter based on the complaint made by Joseph as the theft threat looms large, the officer said, "We have not received the complaint yet. We will look into it as and when the grievance comes to us," he concluded.