Despite the proposal of the Amritsar municipal corporation to spend rs 20 crore from its coffer to for the ambitious Solid Waste Management (SWM) Project, besides rs 21.8 crore from the central government under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, the response to the MC’s tenders remained dismal, with only two firms, including one from the UK, showing their interest.
While five firms were involved in the pre-bidding process, only two — Ess Ell Waste Management, a Mumbai-based company, and Eco Worldwide Waste Management Private Limited — submitted their bids, which were opened on Wednesday. Their financial bids will be opened a month later.
This is the fourth time that the civic body has invited tenders for the SWM Project, and third since its failure in August 2012, after Antony Waste Handling Cell, the company that previously handled the project, pulled out of it.
Besides this, residents of Bhagtanwala area, where the MC proposes to erect the solid waste treatment plant under the second phase of the project, continue to oppose it. On Wednesday, the residents of the area warned the companies interested in undertaking the project to be careful. In case of their failure to tread cautiously, they warned them of immense financial losses.
“Come what may, we shall oppose the construction of the plant here. The companies that are interested in undertaking this project should tread cautiously,” said Sanjya Khanna, a resident.
The MC authorities, however, said they would analyse the tenders submitted by both the companies. “The company, which passes the qualification criteria, will be assigned the project. As per the criteria, the company concerned should have undertaken work worth rs 55 crore or two projects worth Rs 27 crores each,” said municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal.
The project was announced in 2009 under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme. Since then, its costs have witnessed a four-fold increase, with the present costs being pegged at Rs 109 crore, which was `36 crore when it was announced.
The first phase
The first phase of the project included door-to-door collection of garbage in special bins through mechanised carriages, which was delayed for almost two years. The matter was taken to the court. In 2013, the Punjab and Haryana high court gave the MC six months’ to the MC to hire a company to run the project. This was followed by a series of deadlines for inviting tenders for the project, which the MC could not finalise on account of the costs being too high.
The second phase
The second phase entailed construction of a manure generation plant at Bhagtanwala landfill site, where garbage was being dumped. However, it never materialised. The project failed in 2012, when M/S Antony Waste Handling Cell pulled out of it. Thereafter, it could not take off again resulting in unsanitary conditions. The MC claimed that it was conducting garbage lifting operation, which came to a halt after the recent protest of Bhagtanwala area residents.