What is your working model?
We hired one person with experience in government finance department as the project director and appointed project executives, projects managers, supervisors and around fifty workers under him. A structure was created. We selected some twenty five apartments and complexes, made them waste-free. Right from collection to composting everything was established at source itself. Within six months we were invited adopt another 50 buildings.
At present, we are managing 80,000 flats / 1200 buildings. Nearly 1300 workers are working, keeping the city clean.
We also train workers and hand them over to other organisations that want to implement waste management at their premises. Fifty workers are monitored by one supervisor, five supervisors by one project executive and five project executives by a project manager as part of the sustainable model.
With further help from the government, we have got plastic shredding machine that is utilized for crushing the plastic and the waste for road taring. We have also installed bio-fuel plant that generates electricity/ energy.
We have also got various sponsors such as financial organizations like HDFC, South India Bank, HDLC. They provide vehicles to us and to do justice with their investment, we do put their names on the vehicle as part of mobile advertisement. For them, it is part of their CSR, hence tax is exempted and at the same time they are also getting the value added mileage out of it.
To help people understand not to mix garbage, qualified people such as project managers or project executives are used to go to the apartment & colonies in the night, to teach each and every family member, their responsibilities.
Awards & Recognition?
The efforts have been recognised countrywide. The Urban Development Ministry has awarded this project as the best model of 2014. However, what I would prefer to say that CREDAI has come up with the best replicable model in India and that should be followed. Or better, you can say it as an acceptable model to all the segments. The ISO registering authority also complimented us by saying this was the first time, they have seen such a clean plant, where people can sit and have their food at the waste treatment plant.
The external project that caught attention is of Technopark, Thiruannatpuram that generates around 3,000kg of food waste a day. Every day, in Technopark the collected waste is either converted into compost, both liquid and solid and biogas. The rest is brunt in the incinerator, the smoke of which is passed through a scrub so that it comes out non-toxic.
The goodness lies in whatever you are receiving from the nature, you must give it back.
Do you call your efforts a social revolution?
We hire ladies who are struggling to make both ends meet. The working time is modified to suit their daily routine. To protect their dignity, we address them, as Safaiwala and not kachrawala.
Today, they go to work in two wheeler and in way leads to poverty elimination & woman empowerment. We are collecting nominal service charges from people to keep the model sustainable. The supervisors too are ladies and we have helped them buy scooters. With a sense of ownership, they maintain the vehicles properly.
With proper uniforms, the ladies have now become the ambassadors for cleanliness. The social gap too, is getting filled.