The efforts of the Amritsar municipal corporation (MC) at reviving the botched solid waste management project (SWMP), hanging fire since 2012 when Antony Waste Handling Cell pulled out of it, seem to be going down the drain despite the reduction in the rates offered by the company concerned in response to the MC’s demand for the same.
This is because even after the reduction, the MC remains unsatisfied with the costs proposed by the company and wants it to be reduced even further, due to which the project could not be finalised in the meeting of its Finance and Contract Committee (FNCC) on Thursday.
In the meeting of the Finance and Contract Committee (FNCC) of the MC, which concluded late on Thursday night, Mumbai-based Ess Ell Infrastructure Limited further slashed the rates for the project to Rs 1,750 per tonne per day, but the MC’s demand for more reduction in rates kept the project from being finalised.
This is regardless of the fact that the consultant company hired by the Punjab government seemed satisfied with the rate. Initially the company had proposed Rs 1620 per tonne per day for carry and transfer (C and T) of solid waste and `630 per tonne per day for processing and disposal (P and D) in its financial bid.
Unsatisfied with the rates proposed by the company, the MC authorities had urged them to revise the rates. The company obliged by slashing the rates down to Rs 1850 per tonne per day. However, the consultant appointed by the Punjab government to handle the project found that this rate was still on the quite high. Last year, the company had offered Rs 1,525, while the MC’s offer did not exceed `1,100.
“The company is demanding more for the first phase of the project, which is not acceptable to the MC. They have been urged to lower the rates of the first phase and adjust the costs in the second phase of the project. The officials of the company concerned have been taken a few days time to discuss the matter with their bosses and get back to us,” said mayor Bakshi Ram Arora.
Meanwhile, the mayor has clarified that even if the project comes through, it could take at least another couple of years or so for the proposed solid waste treatment plant to come up at Bhagtanwala under the second phase of the project, and become fully functional.
The second phase could not materialise even earlier. And with the residents of Bhagtanwala area holding continuous protests and having warned of accelerating it if their demand for shifting the proposed treatment plant to the city’s outskirts was not met, its materialisation in the near future appeared unlikely.
About the project
The project was announced in 2009 under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Since then, its costs have increased manifold, the current costs being estimated at Rs 109 crore. The brainchild of former BJP Lok Sabha MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, it was worth `36 crore when it was announced.
Attempts at its revival
With a view to reviving the Solid Waste Management Project, the civic body had called tenders for the same in February. However, five companies participated in the pre-bid process and only three submitted their bids. One of the three companies was disqualified, as it failed to come up to the expectations of the MC, leaving the Mumbai-based Ess Ell Infrastructure the sole contender.