Contracts worth more than Rs. 9,500 crore to treat and handle the waste at three dumping grounds in the city are now under fresh scrutiny.
For a while now, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has been contemplating scrapping the contracts with these agencies for repeated non-performance. With chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asking the BMC to not give land on lease to the contractors, the civic body has now got an opportunity to take action.
The chief minister’s directive to the BMC also ends a four-year stand-off between the BMC and the contractors over the land lease agreements. One of the conditions in the contracts between the BMC and the contractors was that the land would be given on lease.
The state, ever since the contracts were allotted in 2009, has kept the issue of approving the agreements pending. Contractors have often cited the delay in approval for the lease as the reason for their non-performance.
Reacting to the directive, a senior civic official said, “Till now, we were worried about scrapping contracts owing to its legal implications. With this directive, we will approach the three companies again. If they don’t agree, we have solid reasons to scrap the contracts, especially after their repeated non-performance.”
While the CM issued the directive during the hearing on the Kanjurmarg dumping ground, civic officials said it would apply to all the three dumping grounds. An official of one of the three contractors said, “For us, the agreement is a security that assures us some credibility when we approach institutions for loans. Also, the contract clearly mentions that we will be given lease for 25 years. The BMC cannot back out now.”
The official rubbished the CM’s fears of the land being mortgaged, saying that the contract doesn’t allow mortgaging.