AROUND THREE weeks after the city slid 11 places to the 18th spot in the Swachh Survekshan rankings due to poor score for waste processing, the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) has terminated a contract with two private companies tasked with processing solid waste.
Rajkot municipal commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani issued an order late on Saturday terminating the contract that the civic body had signed with a joint venture (JV) of Strot Energy Private Limited of Rajkot and Rockem Separation System (India) Private Limited, Mumbai, in September, 2014. As part of the agreement, the JV was to process 350 metric tonnes (MT) of municipal solid waste per day. It was also to pay Rs 8 per MT royalty to the RMC.
As part of the public-private partnership project, the JV was to invest around Rs 30 crore for installing a waste-to-energy conversion plant at Nakravadi village on the outskirts of the city. The two companies were to generate gas by heating solid waste in the absence of oxygen. The gas was to be used to fire a turbine to generate 4 mega watt electricity per day.
Civic officers said that the JV was given 24 months to install the plant and start processing the waste. “However, they could manage to do only eight to 10 per cent of work in the given time. They had issues with arranging finance for the project. We granted them extension, but they could not move forward. They could not come up with convincing plan to put the project back on track. All this while, our solid waste was not processed. It was because of them that we lost marks in the Swachh Survekshan,” Pani told The Indian Express on Sunday. The RMC also blacklisted the two firms for three years and confiscated the Rs 50 lakh security deposit.
The JV termed the termination of agreement disappointing. “There was delay in getting the building plan approved for the project. Finding finances was the toughest and there was little support from the government. We requested for a 16-month extension of the deadline … But the RMC was not convinced, nor was it willing to allow us to subcontract the work to a Chinese firm,” Strot Energy managing director Hareshchandra Chauhan said.
Barring small waste converters placed at Jubilee Baug and at Race Course, almost all of 500 MT of solid waste generated by the city per day remains unprocessed.
The civic body has been dumping the unprocessed waste in the land filling site at Nakravadi since late 2013 when Hunger Biotech Private Limited shut down its processing plant at Bakravadi due to financial constraints. “The state government has come up with a solid waste disposal policy under which it will purchase power at Rs 7.03 per unit from those agencies generating power from waste. We shall float fresh tenders keeping in mind this policy,” added Pani.