The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) took up the initiative of setting up biogas plant in a major way so that decentralisation of solid waste management could be done and problems of sending the waste all the way to the processing plant to Uruli Devachi would be resolved.
However, the initiative that was pushed by corporators is now in trouble as many of the plants are non-functional and there is a delay by civic administration in carrying out performance audits.
The civic administration has set up 17 biogas plants in various parts of the city while a few more are under construction. The initiative faced opposition in the beginning with citizens complaining of problems in residential areas but later the corporators pushed for such plants in their respective areas. The PMC had claimed that the biogas plants were helping in reducing the problem of disposal of solid waste and useful in generating electricity which would light up nearby civic facilities.
Civic activists have been expressing concern over the expenditure on constructing biogas plants. “The civic administration has been reluctant in furnishing details of the biogas plants. Thus, they were asked to give information on performance audit of the biogas plants but the reply was nothing of that sort has been done so far,” said activist Ajay Vaishampayan.
Elected representatives had forced the civic administration to promise the setting up of a committee to carry out the performance audit of the biogas plants but even that failed to start work. “The officer appointed to chair the committee was transferred out of PMC. It delayed the working of committee. However, we would urge the same officer to carry out the work for PMC as the officer was posted in the city but in some other government office,” said civic officer.
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The corporators complained that the PMC was paying Rs 30,000-50,000 a month to the private agency running the biogas plants for the civic body even when the plants are not operating to their full capacity of processing five tonnes of wet garbage daily.
The civic administration also have been attributing the failure of biogas plants to non-segregation of wet garbage at source. “The biogas plant are run only on wet garbage of kitchen waste but citizens do not do the segregation and proper waste does not reach the biogas plant,” said a civic officer.
With the increasing protests over the failure of biogas plants, the PMC administration has decided not to take up construction of new biogas plants in the city until the performance of the existing plants improves.