26 Mar : With private companies setting their eyes on garbage management in the national capital, over 2 lakh rag-pickers here are a worried lot for their livelihood.
Nearly 8,000 tonnes waste is generated in the city everyday and it is estimated that it would go up to 20,000 tonnes to 22,000 tonnes by 2020."At least 20 to 25 per cent of waste is collected by over 2 lakhs rag-pickers everyday in the city. But what will they do if the well-oiled private firms enter the fray and start doing their job?" Director of Hazard Center Dunu Roy asked.
Presently, rag-pickers save approximately Rs 6 lakh per day for the MCD, which otherwise should have done the garbage collection job, Devendra Kumar Baral, President of Bal Vikas Dhara, an NGO working for the welfare of rag-pickers said.
"The state government is bringing private companies to collect and throw wastes. It will affect the livelihood of rag-pickers. Can the government provide job to 2 lakh rag-pickers? Where will they go?" he asked.
The rag-pickers across the city have started a ten-day peaceful march from yesterday to highlight their cause, he said."Issues related to rag-pickers should be included in the government plans while steps need to be taken to provide them with basic needs and shelter. Also, the government had promised issuing I-cards but so far nothing has been done in this direction," Roy said.
Inclusion of rag-pickers in the garbage collection plan will minimise huge transportation cost as well as reduce the need for allocation of land for waste dumping, he said.