In 2009-2010 the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) approached KKPKP and asked SWaCH to carry out door-to-door collection (DTDC) of waste in its limits. The PCMC agreed to provide annually-reducing viability gap funding, calculated on the basis of households covered for wards A and D, until the user fee payment was accepted by residents of the city. After this, the service would be extended to the rest of Pimpri Chinchwad.

According to the agreement (SWaCH PCMC MoU), SWaCH was to undertake primary collection (door to door) and transfer the waste to the secondary collection system. Waste pickers would retain the right to the income earned from the recovery and sale of recyclables. This scheme was launched and was functioning to the satisfaction of citizens, waste pickers and PCMC.

SWaCH terminates MoU : Yet, in 2011, PCMC invited tenders for wards B and C, and awarded an integrated contract for door to door collection and transport to the landfill, on the basis of weight of waste collected and transported. In this model, service users were not required to pay any user fees to the service provider. This went against SWaCH principles of waste management.

This led to a situation where residents of PCMC were subject to unfair terms for waste collection, depending upon where they lived. Those in wards B and C got a free service and those in wards A and D were required to pay. Justifiably, residents refused to pay for a service that others were getting free.

Recognising that in the long run the organisation would now be placed in an impossible situation with regard to user fee recovery, and the unfairness of the situation to citizens, SWaCH decided to terminate the arrangement with the PCMC from October 2012. ( SWaCH Termination Letter)

However, despite pulling out of its arrangement with PCMC, SWaCH maintained that the purposes and the premises on which integration of waste pickers was pushed by KKPKP, still remained valid today – if not even more so, given the higher costs of privatisation of services and escalating costs to the municipality and citizens as tax payers.

Responsibility of PCMC towards waste pickers : KKPKP and SWaCH made the point that since PCMC is as much responsible for poverty alleviation as it is responsible for solid waste management, it was incumbent upon the PCMC to secure the interests of waste pickers who will become unemployed.

When the PCMC invited tenders from labour contractors for door-to-door collection, SWaCH fought for the inclusion of their members/ waste collectors, who had been rendered without jobs under the new system, to be employed by the contractors. SWaCH pointed out that since waste would come from the generator into the trucks, containers have been reduced and the Moshi landfill has been privatised, these displaced workers would not be able to go back to waste picking.

SWaCH successfully campaigned for their members to be hired by the contracted parties and be paid the applicable minimum wage and statutory benefits.

Contractors’ malpractices : For a while it seemed that the waste collectors had found employment in the new system too, but a few months down the line, it became clear that there were several malpractices happening, and waste pickers were not getting their dues.

The waste collectors soon realised that the contractors paid less-than-minimum wage (Rs 50 – Rs 100 as against the required Rs 254), and were falsifying attendance records -- workers were being paid for 10-12 days of work, when they had actually worked for a full month. One waste collector had worked for 23 days but her attendance record showed one day of work! If the waste pickers questioned the contractors, they were threatened into submission, transferred to distant sites, or fired.

Using the RTI Act, KKPKP gathered data which clearly implicated the contractors in manipulation of attendance and wage records. For over four months, KKPKP made attempts to dialogue with PCMC on the basis of this evidence, but when the corporation continued to dilly-dally, an indefinite dharna was launched – without disrupting waste collection services.

On the sixth day of the protest, the Municipal Commissioner, Mr S. Pardeshi, finally sat down with a group of representatives to find a solution. After examining in great detail all the documents and the evidence, the Commissioner ordered that:
A show cause notice be issued immediately to BVG for flouting labour laws and manipulating records.
All workers be paid through recognised bank accounts. (BVG pays its workers through Pay Direct cards, the statements for which cannot be obtained by the workers.)
Joint meetings be held between KKPKP and the Labour Department every fortnight so that concerns raised by workers may be addressed immediately.
Keep informed about current issues, campaigns and events through the SWaCH Newsletter. Contact us here to subscribe   
Events & Campaigns
  Come and present your inspired ideas for how we can rethink e-waste and, in particular, spread awareness about e-waste disposal in ways that are outside traditional approaches.    
SWaCH in the News
  The Times of India
( Pune ) Sep 15, 2016
  Indian Express
September 12, 2016
  Indian Express
September 12, 2016
  The Times of India (Pune)
Sep 13 2016
  MaharashtraTimes (Pune)
Sep 12 2016
  Sakal Times
10 / 09 / 2016

NGOs pitch in for management of waste during Ganesh idol immersion
  The Goldensparrow
05 Aug, 2016
  Waste-pickers get no protection from the rain  
  Maharashtra Times
Aug 7, 2016
  The Times of India
Sept 29, 2015
  Over 500 tonnes of nirmalya collected in 10-day festival  
Sept 29, 2015
  42 Thousand kg nirmalya collected by Swach  
Sept 28, 2015
  Classification of nirmalya by Swach  
Sept 25, 2015
  7th day of ganpati visarjan 17 Thousand kg nirmalya collected  
Sept 24, 2015
  7th day of visarjan 16 Thousand kg. nirmalya Collected  
Sept 19, 2015
  Swach ready for nirmalya collection.  
Sept 18, 2015
  Nirmalya collection of initiative to swach  
  Maharashtra Times
Sept 04, 2015
  Nirmalya project call for volunteers  
  I am dna of Pune
Sept 04, 2015
  Be a swach volunteer, help collect nirmalya during Ganesh visarjan  
  The Times of India
Sept 03, 2015
  Ganeshotsav `nirmalya' target higher  
  Sakal Times
July 25, 2015
  The PMC to finally set up garbage shed on Baner Road  
  Sakal Times
August 15, 2015
  The Fees hiked for trash collection  
  The Indian Express
August 14, 2015
  The SWACH is the first co-operative of wastepickers in the country  
  The New York Times
JULY 29, 2015
  Scavengers Are India's Real Recyclers  
  From A Ragpicker To An International Labour Speaker, Here's Suman More's Inspiring Journey!  
  Loksatta 29.04.2015  
  Times of India 29.03.15
With industries privatizing waste collection through contractors and companies, waste pickers in the city have said that access to recyclables was ...
  The Indian Express 6.11.14
Swach gets parliamentary committee's thumbs-up
  The Indian Express 31.10.14
Waste-picker from city attends international convention, meets Pope Francis
  Sakal Times 07.11.14
Meeting Pope was memorable : Waste picker Rebecca
  Times News Network
Waste collector from city meets Pope Francis
  DNA 5.11.14
From rags to recognition : A waste picker's struggle for basic rights
  DNA 3.11.14
For ragpickers, Pope is their hope
  Surfing their way into the mainstream  
  Midday 17.10.14
They plan to beat music out of junk
  Loksatta 02.09.14
Remember to give your Nirmalya to Swach members
  TOI 20.08.14
Change mindsets to change cities say wastepickers
  The Indian Express 13.08.14  
  Waste pickers demanding pre-matric scholarship for their kids end strike  
  TOI 09.08.14  
  Pune Municipal Corporation not providing gear: SWaCH  
  TOI 06.05.14  
  SWaCH to scale up e-waste collection  
  HINDU Survey of Environment 2013
Picking a brighter future
  Midday 26.06.13
NGOs tie up with schools for environmental awareness
  IE 12.07.13
Green school programme launched to spread awareness among school children
  N Y Times blog
Out of India's Trash heaps, more than a shred of dignity
  HT 06.07.13
South Civic body eyes Pune Model for garbage solution
  TOI 06.07.13
Ragpickers resolve sanitation dilemma
  Newspaper Archives