The government-appointed special investigation team (SIT) investigating contracts for waste management and waste-to-energy plants at three dumping grounds — Deonar, Mulund and Kanjurmarg — says the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) committed serious violations while awarding them.
The SIT report (HT has copy of it) was tabled before the BMC’s standing committee on Wednesday. It was submitted to the state government last year. After the SIT pointed out several irregularities by the BMC, such as favouring certain firms and paying them higher amounts, the civic body, prodded by the state government, terminated all the contracts.
According to the SIT report, the BMC-appointed agencies leased out land to contractors for various projects, including waste management and the scientific closure of the three dumping grounds, without the government’s permission.
The BMC owns the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds while the dump at Kanjurmarg, which is being scientifically closed, is owned by the state government.
Under Section 92 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act 1888, if a BMC-owned plot is to be leased out for a project, the state government’s approval must be sought at the planning stage, well before contracts are awarded.
However, BMC officials ignored this and in 2007 awarded waste management contacts for all three dumping grounds for 25 years, without consulting the government. Halfway through the lease period, the BMC asked the state government to lease out the land at concessional rates for the setting up of waste-to-energy plants, the report said.
The report also said that the BMC’s actions undermined the spirit of public-private partnership (PPP), under which the waste management projects were planned. The BMC is in the process of appointing new contractors for the scientific closure of the three dumping grounds and the setting up of waste-to-energy plants.