RAWALPINDI - The Punjab government’s move to award the contracts of solid waste management of big cities to private firms has endangered the jobs of sanitary workers.

Besides the scores of sanitary workers of Multan, Faisalabad and Gujranwala solid waste management departments, some 1,553 sanitary workers, 53 drivers, 50 supervisors, 9 sanitary inspectors and 4 chief sanitary inspectors of Rawalpindi Solid Waste Management Department (RSWMD) would lose their jobs in case of giving the contract to private firms to manage the waste collection, said Municipal Labor Union (MLC) General Secretary Pervaiz Ahmed Cheeda while talking to TheNation on Tuesday.

He said that sanitary staffers of RSWMD are worried over handing of the waste management to private contractor, which has put their job at risk. Cheeda said that the government should revert its decision in the better interest of the poor workers and their families.

“A total of 1553 sanitary workers, 53 drivers, 50 supervisors, nine sanitary inspectors and four chief sanitary inspectors for four different sectors of the city, who manage the waste collection and transportation, will become unemployed” he said.

He said that the families of poor sanitary workers have already been facing hardships because of inflation in the country. “The unprecedented step of Punjab government will devoid the families of sanitary workers of two times meal,” he said.

MLC General Secretary urged on the government to involve the union in the process of hiring private firms and assured job security for the existing staff.

Earlier, five private firms have approached Punjab government in response to pre-qualification bids for managing solid waste of big cities of the province. The five private firms included four Turkish companies and one Pakistani company.

The pre-qualification bids were opened on Monday in Lahore high ups of Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC).

On the occasion, the representatives of Solid Waste Management Departments of Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad and Gujranwala were present.

It is pertinent to mention here that District Coordination Officer (DCO) of the city has the final authority to reject or accept the pre-qualification details of the five companies for the cleanliness following the recommendations of the consultant LWMC. 

In Lahore, two Turkish companies have already been lifting the solid waste and the government after getting satisfied with their performance decided to hand over the cleanliness of the big cities to the private contractors.

Under the plan the city district government would pay to the contractor against per ton waste collection in accordance with the rates proposed by the consultant.

On the other hand, the Solid Waste administrators in Rawalpindi have been facing problem in opening the drains and proper disposal of the solid waste but so far the plan does not include the activity of distilling of drains and final disposal of the waster.

Daily, approximately 800 tons of solid waste is collected by the RSWMD and is transported to Loaser, a land fill site near Rawat on GT Road.

Executive District Officer (EDO) Municipal Services Imtiaz Malik, when contacted for his comments, said that DCO Rawalpindi Saqib Zafar has already told the staffers that they would not be unemployed by the government.

He said that the sanitary workers also working with Turkish company in Lahore. He said that was also expected the company would also hire more sanitary workers in Rawalpindi to improve its performance.