TRADE LICENCE RENEWALS IN 5-YEAR BLOCKS TO BEGIN APRIL 15
GANGTOK, 12 April: Garbage disposal has become one of the biggest problems facing Sikkim, and finding out means and measures to curb uncivil disposal has now become a priority for all the Urban Local Bodies [ULBs] which have now been entrusted this responsibility earlier held by the UD&HD.
The Gangtok Municipal Corporation [GMC] is approaching the problem with a combination of improved collection services and the threat of fines and penalties. Even as it presses more garbage collection vehicles on the roads, it has collected a whopping Rs. 3.18 lakh in the past seven months from fines and penalties imposed against improper garbage waste disposal in and around town. The fines have been collected from the 15 wards that fall under the GMC. Violation of rules in place against irresponsible dumping is punishable with fines of upto Rs.20,000 along with imprisonment.
“We have been given double the area of what the UD&HD used to cover in the past. We are facing a lack of manpower for which we have also started with ‘out-sourcing’ the collection and disposal through private parties”, informs the Chief Municipal Officer, Anil Raj Rai.
Further, CCTV cameras, costing Rs. 2 lakh each, have been setup at various locations in and around Gangtok as a deterrent against dumping of waste into jhoras.
“The cameras will be moved from one location to another. Footage from the cameras is checked every weekend and fines imposed against illegal dumping captured in the CCTV,” informs the Chief Municipal Officer.
Another initiative undertaken by the GMC is to declare Tathangchen, Chandmari, Burtuk, Arithang, DC office road and some areas along NH-31A as ‘sweeping zones’ which means that like MG Marg, Safai- Karamcharis will also sweep these areas every morning.
The GMC has also provided areas like Sichey with smaller utility vehicles which report every morning between 5:30 and 6 to collect household waste. Similar initiatives are being planned for other “difficult and inaccessible areas” such as Arithang and Syari.
“We are privatizing the garbage collection process but will provide the areas with vehicles and drivers. One cannot just leave their garbage bags on the roadside. People need to wait and help the garbage collectors load their garbage into these vehicles. On many instances we have also fined people who leave their plastic bags of garbage on the roadside for the vehicles to collect later. Even this is violation”, he explained.
It may be informed that the state government has transferred several functions and attendant officials to the seven ULBs and GMC through a notification issued on 25 June last year. With its head office at the private bus stand in Deorali, the GMC office has been given a jurisdiction which also covers issuance and renewal of trade licenses, supervisory functions like calling NITs for award of car-parking contracts and bazaar contracts, implementation of poverty alleviation schemes, calling of tenders, conclusion of agreements, acceptance of tenders and execution of civil tender works of upto Rs. 50 lakh along with the collection and disposal of solid waste.
It may also be informed here that the state government has also come up with a new rule allowing for trade licenses to be renewed once every five years instead of the present annual renewal regime. The renewal process begins from 15 April later this week, it was informed.
It is also informed that the issuance of trade licenses has been directly linked to garbage management and the GMC has started surprise inspections of enterprises here. Applicants for new trade licenses or renewals are now required to detail how they dispose the waste generated in their respective enterprises.
According to the Chief Municipal Officer, some of the new initiatives lined up include complete computerization of the trade licensing and renewal process. “We hope that in the coming days one can get the licenses renewed online. We know it is a challenging proposition but we hope to achieve it since it shall be more organized and convenient for all.”
The GMC has also launched its official website www.gangtokmunicipalcorporation.org