THE controversy over awarding garbage collection contracts has apparently been resolved in Pimpri-Chinchwad with the standing committee last week scrapping the decision to award the contract to two firms. It has instead, passed a resolution to appoint eight agencies in different parts of the city, which was a demand raised by Opposition parties. It has also decided that till the new appointments are made, the two firms, currently doing the job, be allowed to continue the work.
The decision to award the contract to two agencies was taken by the earlier standing committee. Pimpri-Chinchwad was divided into two parts, with one side considering Pune-Mumbai Highway as the dividing line. The firms — B V G India Ltd and A J Enviro Infra Project Pvt Ltd — were to get Rs 56 crore collectively. The contract was for eight years. The NCP and Shiv Sena had opposed the move. In fact, former NCP corporator Prashant Shitole, alleging corruption in the deal, had approached the High Court, seeking cancellation of the contract. A complaint was even sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and to the Chief Minister.
Before Wednesday’s standing committee meeting, which scrapped the tenders for two firms, Municipal Commissioner Shravan Hardikar had held a meeting with Opposition leaders who had demanded that the ruling party and the administration review its decision and instead appoint four private players to take care of city’s garbage. To clarify the administration’s stand and bring the Opposition around, Hardikar held the meeting which had ended in a deadlock with the Opposition persisting with its demand for appointing four private firms instead of the current arrangement of two firms.
“In the tender process, the rates submitted by the two firms are similar. We suspect that they formed a ring…,” Shiv Sena group leader Rahul Kalate had said in the meeting. Kalate said the two firms will not be able to take care of the garbage in two vast areas of the township. “Therefore, we insisted that four or more firms be appointed for the purpose,” he said. NCP House leader Yogesh Behl, during the meeting, said that they pressed for retendering and ensuring healthy competition. “We raised objections about the same rates filed by the two firms which is highly inappropriate. There should be healthy competition and more firm vying for the contract,” he said.
Behl said the administration could not give satisfactory reply about the rate analysis. “We wanted to know on what basis the rate analysis was done? Whether they downloaded the rates from the internet or from a firm which had an experience in dealing. The rates for vehicles bringing in garbage from the far end of the city to the Moshi garbage depot and for vehicles bringing garbage from close to garbage depot looked similar, raising doubts about the authenticity of the tender process,” he alleged.
The PCMC chief argued that vehicles based on latest technology would be employed for lifting the garbage. “Already there has been a delay in appointing the contracts and any further delay will aggravate the city’s garbage problem,” he said. But the Opposition stuck to its guns in the three-hour long meeting. The PCMC chief said the civic general body or the standing committee will take the final decision. The committee took the final decision on Wednesday.