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Dust: Road sweepers not working, helpers needed

Dust: Road sweepers not working, helpers needed
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New Delhi: Even as the Supreme Court on Wednesday re-imposed the construction ban in Delhi-NCR in light of the rising pollution, the ones at the forefront of controlling dust pollution on roads here are trying to fight this battle — either without enough drivers in some areas or without working-condition road sweepers and water sprinklers in other areas.

Millennium Post found that among the three MCDs here, while the SDMC has claimed all of their mechanised road sweepers (25) and water tankers (65) are working and on the roads, they were facing a shortage of drivers until a few weeks ago. On the other hand, the North MCD has only now revealed that half of their road sweepers and water tankers are not even being deployed on the roads.

North MCD has 18 MRSs and 104 water tankers but 50 per cent have been out of commission due to reasons starting from a lack of drivers and helpers to the non-payment of salaries and machines needing repair work. Standing Committee Chairman Jogi Ram Jain said, "Currently only 50 per cent machines are working but we have already looked into the issue and launched an investigation into it and are working to make sure all of them start soon."

Meanwhile, in East Delhi, several water tankers were found idling in bad condition at the depot near Anand Vihar ISBT on Monday morning even as authorities claimed on Wednesday that the issue had been addressed and all the vehicles were being deployed.

At the depot, right before the water tankers were leaving for their routes, two of the vehicles were dilapidated, looked broken down and rusted. A driver about to start on his route there said, "Sometimes they (machines) work, sometimes they don't. Right now, we are working with what we have. There are few helpers but we manage with it." Another driver also rued that they had to work without helpers for a while and that their salaries were also delayed.

Each water tanker deployed for sprinkling activities needs at least two helpers along with the driver. The East MCD has 10 MRSs and 40 water tankers across both of its zones and officials have now said that all the machines are in working condition and are being deployed.

In East Delhi, drivers of water tankers and MRSs have been paid till September, which was also slightly delayed.

When the Supreme Court first took granular interest in road sweepers, it was informed that MCDs had sought an extra 15 sweepers from the Delhi government, which was approved. Now, the SDMC has said that they have also made a provision to add four water tankers to any ward that needs it, as per Standing Committee Chairman Colonel BK Oberoi. He added that all repair works are being attended to immediately.

Insisting that the EDMC has a great record of addressing road sweeping and water sprinkling complaints, Commissioner Vikas Anand said that they have clocked a 99 per cent response and redressal rate on complaints in their areas.

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