The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) project to dispose waste and close the 40-year-old Mulund dumping ground has run into trouble. Even after extending the deadline thrice to get a response to the tenders, the civic body received only one bid for the project.
The tender was prepared after many meetings with the companies and experts from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).
With just one firm willing to take up the project, the civic body has now decided to float tenders for it again.
“We cannot go ahead with one bidder for such a large project. The tender was made after seeking opinions from experts. We will see if any changes need to be made in the present tender,” said Sanjay Mukherjee additional municipal commissioner, projects.
After a delay of two months, the final tenders for the project were issued in May. The BMC was aiming to finalise the project by end of the year. Of the four companies that downloaded the tender forms, only one bid for the project.
According to sources, the illegal dumping of debris at the Mulund landfill is one of the reasons why not many companies are keen on taking up the project.
Derivables from biodegradable waste, for example, compost has higher resale value as compared to inert waste such as debris.
Debris leads to a reduction in the final product and thus a loss to the contractor.
The BMC, however, thinks otherwise. “Other than the size of the project (it will be spread over 4 hectares), this is also the first time in the country that such a project will be taken up because of which companies are not coming forward. The risk involved is high,” said a civic official.
The companies will be the sole owner of the final product obtained from processing the waste. The BMC can buy the final product, which can be anything from electricity to compost from the companies.
According to a contour survey carried out last year, the total volume of the existing solid waste management at the Mulund landfill is 5.35 million cubic metres.
After the discussions with companies and tender committee, it was decided that 30 lakh metric tonnes of waste will be processed over three years, compared to 60 lakh metric tonnes, as the civic body feared that contractors will not be able to process that amount of waste and hence will not bid.
The closure plan came up after repeated fires at Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds earlier this year that highlighted the civic body’s faulty waste management procedure.
The BMC is also planning to open tenders for processing of Deonar dumping ground by the end of this month. This project has also ran into controversy as the citizens from the vicinity feel that the energy processing unit at the landfill will lead to higher pollution count.