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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Chandigarh: Jaypee Group backs out on handing over of city’s garbage processing unit to civic body

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation alleged that the Jaypee group has not been processing the entire waste.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Updated: January 28, 2020 11:38:53 am
Chandigarh: Jaypee Group backs out on handing over of city’s garbage processing unit to civic body Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has been in a legal battle with the garbage processing company for over four years. (File)

In a setback to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the Jaypee Group, which had agreed to hand over the garbage processing plant to the civic body, has backed out saying that they were not aware of any such agreement.

In a meeting held here between the two parties, which was attended by the Jaypee Group representatives, the Mayor, MC Commissioner, MOH and other officers, when the MC began the discussion over handing over of the plant to them, the company’s officials said that ‘they cannot say anything as of now’. The sole garbage processing plant of the city is being run in Dadumajra by the company.

Speaking to Chandigarh Newsline, MC Commissioner KK Yadav said, “They have backed out. There were two representatives from the Jaypee Group, their Director and the plant manager. They said, they do not know anything of this sort and cannot say anything about it. We too were surprised because before the NGT Monitoring Committee, they said that they were ready to hand over the plant to us.”

The Commissioner added, “We have now asked them to speak to their Chairman Manoj Gaur and inform us by February 7, but they furnished a completely opposite statement in front of the NGT.”

Sources said that the plant authorities again demanded that the corporation should pay tipping charges for the waste and then they will upgrade their plant. However, the corporation refused, saying that they had said to hand over the plant. The case will be heard before the NGT on February 12.

Chandigarh Newsline tried to contact the Plant manager NK Vohra several times, however, he did not respond.

Allegedly, a few days back, the plant authorities had said that they will hand over the plant to the MC, which had brought relief to the civic body as they have been struggling to end their operations with the Jaypee Group. The corporation had also decided to appoint a mediator to negatiate the salvage value earlier, however, there has been a turn of events.

Similar ordeal

In 2017, the general house resolved to terminate the contract mutually and also signed a mutual termination agreement. The tribunal gave time up to March 2017 for the Municipal Corporation to find a replacement. However, the Jaypee Group asked for Rs 30 crore as salvage value, to which the Corporation did not agree. Moreover, the company, which the MC short listed as a replacement to set up the plant refused to pay such a hefty salvage value.

In the lack of a solution, the company and the MC struck a compromise and the Jaypee Group agreed to continue its operations at the plant from April 1, 2017, without any tipping fee. However, the two broke up over the treatment of garbage and the MC moved NGT, which advised them to work for public interest and solve the issue amicably. The saga continued and both the parties again joined hands, with the Jaypee Group putting up a proposal to the MC officials, wherein it said, it was ready to upgrade its plant and set up a compost plant. However, yet again, only 25 per cent of waste is being processed and MC says it is not satisfied.

An endless battle

The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation alleged that the Jaypee group has not been processing the entire waste. MC Commissioner KK Yadav had said that Jaypee was one of the key reasons to why the city was defaulting in the Swacch Survekshan survey. He said that the company has been processing only 20 to 25 per cent of the entire waste, leaving the rest unprocessed. Chandigarh generates over 450 tonnes of waste.

The civic body has been in a legal battle with the garbage processing company for over four years. Following a memorandum of understanding signed between the parties in 2005 and 2008, Jaypee had set up a garbage processing plant at Dadumajra. However, few years later, Jaypee began demanding a tipping or processing fee for the garbage, even as the MC contended that the agreement signed between them did
not mention the payment of the tipping fee.

Following several letters sent by the company to the MC, threatening to shut the plant, the company finally suspended operations and shut down the plant on July 11, 2016. The civic body then moved the National Green Tribunal requesting it to ask Jaypee to resume operations in public interest as the garbage was not being processed and had to be dumped at Dadumajra. The tribunal gave them relief and asked Jaypee Group to resume operations, following which the garbage processing unit was opened again on July 27.

However, the NGT then asked the Municipal Corporation and Jaypee to amicably solve the issue. However, the MC again said that Jaypee had not been processing the waste. The MC said, the agreement made with the Jaypee Group was so “faulty” that they will not be able to easily severe ties with the company due to legal binding.

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