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Municipal Solid Waste Processing Plant: Since 2008, in the news more for wrong reasons

(18 Jul 2016)

Since its inception in May 2008, the Municipal Solid Waste Processing Plant at Dadumajra has remained in the news more for wrong reasons than right.

The plant, being run by Jai Prakash Associates Ltd, had a first brush with controversy when the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation was accused of allotting the work without calling tenders.

The civic body issued a public notice inviting expression of interest for setting up a garbage processing plant on June 10, 2004, for which a total of 16 firms showed interest. Of total, two firms were shortlisted but the House in its 185th meeting dropped both the proposals terming them not suitable and decided to float tenders.

In the same meeting, the House resolved that a committee consisting of mayor, commissioner, three councillors and two experts be constituted. The committee was authorised to allot work for setting up of a processing plant through competitive bidding.

Jai Prakash Associates Ltd made a presentation before the committee on May 10, 2005, and the committee got the proposal approved from the Chandigarh Administration. On July 8, 2005, an MoU was signed by the commissioner on behalf of MCC and Rajiv Gaur, president of Jai Prakash Associates Ltd. Subsequently, the firm submitted a detailed project report. As per the conditions in the report, the firm was to construct the facility within 12 months after taking possession of land on receipt of statutory approval whichever is later with a grace period of four months.

The plant was inaugurated by the then administrator on May 21, 2008. A show-cause notice was issued on August 26, 2008, after the plant failed to work to the desired capacity even after the stipulated period.

Following a complaint alleging irregularities, an inquiry was conducted by a House committee headed by the then councillor Chandermukhi Sharma.

As per the report, MoU, implementation agreementPR were never brought before the sanitation committee, finance and contract committee and general house which are the statutory committees. MoU was brought post-facto for information only. The firms compromised with regard to quality, specifications by not installing machinery as per the DPR. Medical officer health office was at the receiving end for not keeping a check on the firm at the time of installation of machinery.

Former mayor and senior Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said that the firm did not install the machinery mentioned it the DPR. “We had taken up the issue in the House after an inspection of the plant was carried out,” he said.

Councillor Sharma said that the plant was set up at around 10 acres of land allotted to the firm at a meagre amount of Re 1 per square metre per annum as lease money. “The civic body suffered heavy losses and the corporation went out of way to favour one firm,” alleged Sharma. The vigilance department had given a clean chit to the project.

Waste plant emissions dangerous to health: PGIMER

A STUDY conducted by School of Public Health in 2011 highlighted the ill-effects of dioxin and furans to the health of residents of nearby areas of the dumping ground. The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC), in a number of communications to the plant management between 2009 and 2010, highlighted the need for monitoring of dioxin and furans being emitted. Following this, the civic body asked PGIMER to submit a report on emission of dioxin and furans from the Dadumajra garbage processing plant.

MC, firm face-off over tipping fee 

THE civic body and the firm have been at the loggerheads over tipping fee. The firm has been demanding tipping fee from MC on the grounds that it has been running at a loss. The firm also moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue of tipping fee.

Congress councillor Subhash Chawla said that the company was looking for an excuse to close the plant and they made tipping fee an excuse for shutting down the plant. “The firm is not entitled for tipping fee as per the MoU,” he said.

The city generates 350 tonnes of solid waste daily that is managed by the Municipal Corporation. The plant processes approximately 75 per cent of the garbage to generate refuse-derived fuel while the rest is being thrown at the dumping ground without being processed.

Parliamentary panel slams lack of safety

THE Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development, in its report which was tabled in Rajya Sabha on May 2, observed that in solid waste processing plant at Dadumajra, the workers were not provided any safety kits like gloves and masks while handling the waste for collecting or processing at the landfill site.

Emphasis on scientific disposal of waste
IN the smart city proposal, the civic body has laid stress on improving solid waste management. City targets scientific disposal of all solid wastes by 2020. For efficient solid waste management, the civic body plans to distribute stainless steel dual garbage bins to residents to facilitate the segregation of solid waste at source. Two bio-methanation plants are coming up and other local waste-to-energy/compost solutions are being explored.

News Source : The Indian Express