The proposal to mechanically sweep Delhi's dusty roads was announced last December as part of a clutch of decisions taken by the ruling Aam Admi Party to combat alarming levels of air pollution in the city.
In fact, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had inaugurated a greening drive and vacuum cleaning on April 1 and had tweeted that all PWD roads in the city will be mechanically swept in "two months".
"But the project never took off as envisaged as there were few takers for the government tender inviting private players. Primarily because greening and beautification of roads were also clubbed in it," government sources said.
There are very few companies in this sector who have equal expertise in sweeping as well as greening and beautification, which explains the tepid response, they said.
Another issue that cropped up was related to the dumping of collected dust. The municipal corporations of Delhi, that run the landfill sites in the national capital, "refused" to absorb the dust, the sources said.
"PWD will expedite proposals already under consideration in the department for vacuum cleaning of the dust from roads in Delhi. The agencies are to be appropriately identified and the target date for starting vacuum cleaning of the dust from the roads shall be 01.04.2016," read a government statement, dated December 4, 2015.
Now a fresh tender is being drafted, where the sweeping and beautification components have been separated and the loose ends are being tightened.
It is learnt that the government is open to domestic as well as international bidders. The question of whether to hire these machines or go for outright purchasing is also being mulled over.
A comprehensive IIT-Kanpur study on Delhi's air quality had identified road dust as the biggest source of suspended particulate matter in the city's air, pegging it at 38 percent.
Around 1,280 km of the city's total road length comes under the local Public Works Department as it is responsible only for roads which are more than 60-feet wide. The rest comes under the purview of the civic bodies.
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