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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Anomalies in 2-crore biogas plant project raise questions

Hillary Victor , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh , July 30, 2014
First Published: 13:26 IST(30/7/2014) | Last Updated: 13:36 IST(30/7/2014)

A day after the municipal corporation (MC) House approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai, for installation of two biogas plants of five metric tonnes each at the cost of Rs. 2 crore, eyebrows were raised about the project in the general house meeting.

As the garbage processing plant at Dadumajra is unable to process vegetable waste, mixed waste and waste from hotels, which are currently being dumped in open grounds, the MC is coming up with these projects.

However, discrepancies in the cost of the project mentioned by both parties involved have led to questions being raised.

While the BARC website quotes Rs. 16 lakh per tonne as the cost, the MC has quoted it to be Rs. 20 lakh per tonne. Going by these rates, there is a difference of Rs. 40 lakh in the total cost of the project, which the MC has to pay to the BARC.

In the House meeting two months ago, it was decided that the proposal for consultancy by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in Nagpur to develop a comprehensive municipal solid waste management plan for the city will be taken up along with the BARC proposal. But, the MC has ignored it and the civic body has not even identified sites for setting up the biogas plants.

Though nominated councillor Surinder Bahga on Monday raised the issue of difference in the costs of the project in the House, the officers stated that it appeared BARC had not updated its website.

Bahga said, “It seems the officers concerned have not done their homework properly before going ahead with project and it looks like a one-sided MoU which will result in the civic body being at a loss. ”As per clause 5.1.1 of the MoU, funds of Rs. 2 crore (Rs1 crore per plant excluding taxes, for two plants each of five tonnes per day capacity plant) would be provided by the MC to BARC on signing the MoU as deposit amount for the plant construction, machineries, subsystems and installation. The fund-utilisation split up will be given by the BARC and any additional requirement will be provided by the MC to BARC and excess funds, if any, will be refunded. The BARC will charge 5% as departmental charges over and above the total cost of the project.

The MoU also states that the BARC shall not be responsible for any loss or damage whatsoever, resulting due to implementation of this technology at the premises of the user(s) or due to implementation of the same at the premises of the MCC. Any dispute or differences arising out of interpretation of any of the clauses listed above or otherwise shall be resolved by mutual consultation and if arbitration is needed, the matter shall be referred to the BARC director.

Saying that the BARC was not taking any responsibility in spite of paying Rs. 2 crore, BJP councillor Arun Sood asked, “Why should the jurisdiction of the court be MumbaiRs It should be Chandigarh where work is going to be executed.”

NEERI PROJECT FAILS TO TAKE OFF

To study garbage treatment and disposal in the city beautiful, a six-member committee including former mayor Raj Bala Malik, went on a two-day visit on October 17, 2012, to study the Nagpur plant.

A proposal for consultancy by the NEERI on developing a solid waste management plan for the municipal corporation was approved and it was decided that the MC would spend Rs. 52 lakh on it. The proposal for consultancy would cover three phases of the project.

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