Civic body may cancel contracts of companies handling dumping grounds

Tardy projects at Deonar, Mulund sites irk BMC

The civic administration, fed up with the delay in partial closure of the Deonar dumping ground and setting up of a methanisation plant at the Mulund dumping ground, is being forced to to consider cancelling the contracts of companies handling these sites.

Most of the waste generated in the city ends up at the Deonar dumping ground. Officials say there has been an inordinate delay in scientific closure of the site.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani said, "The progress of both Deonar and Mulund dumping ground projects is unsatisfactory. We are mulling over the options before finalising a solution. Until we have an alternative to manage the dumping grounds, we cannot blindly cancel their contracts."

While the deadline for the project is 2014, civic officials admit that barely 20 per cent work has been completed so far. At the Deonar site, the work on composting plant, awarded to United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL), has been delayed by over two years. Officials said work was far from over with the basic construction of a retaining wall just beginning.

The BMC had awarded the contract of handling the closure of dumping grounds to private firms for a 'tipping fee' of Rs 550 per tonne of garbage brought in. Tipping fee is levied by the contractor per tonne of garbage received, generally meant to offset the cost of transporting the garbage from the gate to the treatment plant inside.

Similarly, at the Mulund site, UPL was awarded the project of setting up a bio-methanisation plant on four hectares. While The contract was awarded in 2011, work is yet to start.

Meanwhile, the problem of waste disposal at Deonar has gone from bad to worse. The civic administration had sought permission from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to increase the height of Deonar dumping ground to 45 m from the current 35 m. It had earlier sought AAI's permission to increase the height to the yard, which was falling in the line of flights, so that more space was available for waste being dumped there.

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