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Waste processing plant: Setback for Chandigarh MC, Jaypee gets stay on contract termination

Order to terminate contract with Delhi-based firm which would have resulted in the civic body getting the control of the waste processing plant
By HT Correspondent | HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2020 01:15 AM IST

A local court on Thursday stayed the municipal corporation (MC) order to terminate its contract with Jaypee Group which would have resulted in the civic body getting the control of the waste processing plant in Dadumajra.

The notice, served last Thursday, terminated the contract that MC signed with the Delhi-based firm in 2005, and sought the plant’s possession in a week’s time.

“It is definitely a huge setback for our efforts to streamline the working of the plant that has become worse under Jaypee. We will definitely take all possible legal remedies in the coming days after examining the detailed order,” said MC commissioner KK Yadav.

The MC general House in a meeting on March 4 had approved a detailed revival plan that included getting the plant’s present condition examined from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi or IIT Roorkee and then begin the process to upgrade the technology of the facility that was set up in 2007 at the cost of over 32 crore.

FIRM CALLS PROCESS ARBITRARY

MC had terminated the contract with Jaypee following a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order on February 12, wherein the civic body was given a month to make alternative arrangements if it was not satisfied with the firm’s working.

In the termination notice, MC claimed that the plant was not working optimally for the past several years as it was only processing 120 metric tonnes of waste against the daily generation of 450 metric tonnes, while the remaining was being illegally dumped in the ground opposite the plant.

However, Jaypee, in its plea before the court, called MC’s termination notice illegal and arbitrary.

The firm’s counsel argued that the notice violated the terms of agreement as per which the MC cannot take any such action of termination without serving a notice of 180 days. The counsel also claimed that the MC made “wrongful” interpretation of NGT’s orders while terminating agreement.

The counsel also sought directions to MC “to furnish adequate security of 35 crore for the salvage value through cash or bank guarantee before they take over the possession of the plant.”

MC’s counsel, on the other hand, claimed that Jaypee was not running the plant effectively for long, due to which lakhs of tonnes of unprocessed waste had accumulated in the dumping ground.

BJP, CONG SPAR

Congress leader of opposition Devinder Babla said it was due to the negligence of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled MC that the firm got the stay. “MC did not examine all legal aspects before serving the termination notice, and instead deliberately left loopholes to benefit the firm,” alleged Babla.

However, local BJP president Arun Sood said the Congress should not politicise the matter as taking over the plant was a unanimous decision of which Babla and party councillors were also a part. “We will persuade MC officials to challenge the interim order in the higher court,” he added.

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