Nearly five years after initiating the project, plans for a regional solid waste management plant to scientifically process waste of various municipal corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region have come to a grinding halt.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was expecting to commission the plant by the end of 2015 but under the previous Congress-NCP government, it terminated the agreement with the selected bidder and has now brought the project back on the drawing board.
U P S Madan, metropolitan commissioner at the MMRDA, said, “We cancelled the earlier bid because there were issues about past projects and the history of the bidder. The authority wasn’t comfortable with the track record. There was also an opinion of the previous government that we should review the construction model instead of going with the public-private partnership model.”
“Meanwhile, we have started internally considering alternatives to public-private partnership such as constructing the plant on our own and then outsourcing its operation and maintenance,” he added.
The MMRDA had issued a ‘Letter of Award’ to a consortium led by Hyderabad-based Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd after getting an approval from its executive committee in May 2013 to implement the project on a public-private partnership basis.
The regional solid waste management plant to be located at Taloja was to have a capacity to process 2,500 tonnes of garbage from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region per day for 25 years. The plant, touted to be stench-free, was an attempt to move dumping grounds away from human habitat, which all local bodies could use.
The plant was proposed for the use of six urban local bodies – Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhasnagar, Ambarnath and Kulgaon-Badlapur. The Thane Municipal Corporation had, however, expressed reservations about utilising the plant. According to project documents maintained by the MMRDA, the six corporations put together were likely to generate nearly 5,000 tonnes of waste per day by 2035.
As per the plan, the local bodies were to first bring municipal waste to a transfer station in their locality, where the waste was to be compacted by removing moisture and taken to the plant spread across a 107-hectare plot in Taloja. A material recovery facility would then separate the bio-degradable and combustible material. Bio-degradable material was to be composted, while the rest incinerated to produce 24 megawatt electricity per day.