Ahmedabad: The government would look into the problems faced by rag-pickers following mechanisation of waste disposal in urban areas but it would not be possible to stop privatisation or mechanisation of solid waste management,
Union Environment Minister Jayram Ramesh said on Friday.
"We cannot stop privatisation or mechanisation of solid
waste management in our urban areas," Ramesh said addressing a
two-day national conference of rag-pickers organised by
Alliance of Indian Waste-pickers (AIW) at Manipur village on
the outskirts of the city here.
The first ever national conference of waste pickers was
organised here in which 30 organisations working with them in
different cities participated.
The main issue raised by them was the loss of income due
to privatisation and mechanisation of waste collection by city
Ramesh said that the central government was in the
process of forming new rules for management of plastic,
bio-medical and electronic waste.
"I assure you that the Central government will take
care of your issues while making the new policy," Ramesh said.
He further asked the rag-pickers, who had gathered in
large number, to ensure that their children get good education
and they are not subjected to living a life of rag-pickers.
Shantaben Parmar, a waste-picker said that 20,000 women
who used to earn about Rs 50 in the city daily lost their
occupation after the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation gave the
contract for solid waste management to a private firm.
"We used to manage our requirement of food and other necessities from waste-picking. But now the private company
which is doing the job does not allow us to touch the waste
and our livelihood is gone," Shantaben said.
Shushila Shinde who came from Mumbai said, "She has
been involved in waste-picking for the last 30 years, but now
with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation appointing a private
company, I have lost the opportunity to earn".
AIW also submitted a memorandum to Ramesh demanding
that the door-to-door waste collection services in municipal
corporation areas should be given to waste pickers and they
should be allowed to retrieve, recover and collect recyclable
waste and retain the income from the sale.