New rules for green clearances may delay Deonar dump closure
The scientific closure of Deonar dumping ground, which overflows with more than 12 million tonnes of waste, may further get delayed. The reason: the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) newmumbai Updated: Oct 13, 2016 01:24 IST
The scientific closure of Deonar dumping ground, which overflows with more than 12 million tonnes of waste, may further get delayed. The reason: the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) new tender conditions, including green clearances from various agencies. The tender is likely to be issued within a week.
The tender clauses put the onus on bidders to get various environmental clearances from Central Regulatory Zone (CRZ) and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), and other inter-departmental approvals for scientific closure. In addition, the BMC is only giving companies a year to get all the clearances.
Even as the tender is yet to be floated, experts fear that the new terms make the multi-crore project cumbersome.
“With the new conditions, the company which bags the contract will have to get all the environmental and other NOCs within a year. If failed to do so, the contract will be cancelled. Instead of BMC appointing a contractor to get various clearances we have simply asked the companies to do so,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner, project.
In its report in June this year, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which was appointed as a consultant by the BMC, suggested a waste-to-energy (WTE) plant at the dump. Since then, the proposed plant has faced flak from several quarters.
Experts feel that such a plant defies several National Green Tribunal (NGT) norms as it cannot be constructed in a highly populated area and needs a buffer zone, which depends on the population density and the amount of waste to be processed. In some of its orders, the Bombay high court also ruled that such WTE plants should be 30 to 50km outside the city.
The plant aims to process only 3,000 metric tonnes of fresh waste daily. The existing 12 million tonnes of waste lying over 122 hectares of the landfill is not taken into account for this project, meaning citizens will continue to face threat from the landfill which has seen recurrent fires since January this year.
Civic officials are ambivalent if the plant can prevent fires at the dumpyard.
“Putting onus on the bidders to get green clearances will reduce the work load on the civic body. However, this may not attract many takers. Even if the civic body appoints consultants for clearances, it is impossible to get all approvals in a year,” said a former solid waste management civic official.