Itanagar: Expressing concern over Itanagar being ranked as one of the dirtiest cities in the country, Chief Minister Pema Khandu called upon the Itanagar Municipal Corporation (IMC) to shoulder the responsibility of waste management with utmost sincerity.
Chairing a meeting on Monday with the 20 newly-elected corporators headed by Mayor Tame Phassang, Khandu said, “the onus is on the IMC to revive the garbage disposal system and clean the image of the state’s capital city.”
Pointing at the almost complete 4-lane highway in the city that has overhauled its outlook, he said, “No amount of infrastructural development will suffice until the city is cleared of its garbage.”
“As IMC was defunct for the last two years due to various reasons, the in-place waste management system went disarray. Therefore, the new team of corporators have a huge responsibility on its shoulders,” he said.
Elections for the local body couldn’t be conducted after the erstwhile Municipal Council completed its tenure in 2019 due to the changes brought in after the government decided to make the Itanagar local body a corporation, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per official records, Itanagar has about 1 lakh-plus people, consisting of 19,580 households in 20 wards. It produces about 50 metric tons of both solid and wet garbage daily.
Giving a patient hearing to the issues and drawbacks of the IMC from the Mayor, Khandu assured full cooperation from the state government.
Khandu suggested the corporators, who have been in office hardly for a month, sincerely attend the orientation and training program being facilitated by the urban development department in April.
He also advised them to visit a couple of cities that are successfully running waste management systems.
“Once you come back with the newly-gained knowledge, suggest a way forward. We will set a timeline to make Itanagar one of the cleanest cities in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Khandu added that the government would work out a way to make functional the waste management plant at Chimpu.
Phassang assured that picking garbage, and transporting it to the dumping or recycling plant, won’t be a problem.
He, however, requested the government to make functional the defunct recycling plant at Chimpu besides establishment of dumping and land-fill sites, one each for Itanagar and Naharlagun.
He said the required land will be procured by the IMC.
To the proposal that waste management, from collection to disposal and recycling, may be handed over to an experienced and expert agency, Phassang said it was up to the government to decide as the only objective is to run a successful management system and keep the city clean.
Another issue raised by the Mayor was the poor revenue collection from waste disposal. He informed that IMC has only 20 people for door-to-door revenue collection, who by no means could visit all households on time.
The chief minister suggested that this could be included in the water bill collected by the department of public health engineering (PHE), which has enough manpower for door-to-door collection.
Issues like manpower, vehicle, etc were also discussed.
The meeting was also attended by deputy chief minister Chowna Mein, chief secretary Naresh Kumar and officials of the urban development department and IMC.