According to reports, amidst opposition even from members of the ruling party (BJP), the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council passed a resolution on Friday permitting Organic India Pvt. Ltd. to set up a waste-to-energy plant in Mandur.
Opposition party leader M.K. Gunashekar, Janata Dal (S) Floor Leader Thimme Gowda, and councillors from Nandini Layout and Kacharakanahalli M. Nagaraj and Padmanabha Reddy, respectively, all sought to know the reason behind the move when the company had actually failed to put up a plant in three years.
Mr. Gunashekar said the company was given the work order and letter of acceptance in 2009 and was yet to begin work on setting up the plant to convert waste to power. He also pointed out that the former Commissioner M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda, in his note to the Standing Committee for Public Health in February last, had recommended that the contract be terminated as the company had failed to set up the plant and respond to the notices served by the civic body.
Acknowledging that the special meeting had been convened based on High Court’s oral instructions to BBMP’s counsel in a public interest litigation petition in which the company had impleaded, he sought to know why the officials had failed to bring the Commissioner’s letter to the notice of the court. Mr. Gunashekar sought to know the source of Rs. 4 crore that the BBMP was planning to give Karnataka Compost Development Corporation (KCDC). Mr. Thimme Gowda claimed that the company had provided false information. Mr. Reddy seconded him and demanded to know why the performance security deposit was reduced to Rs. 25 lakh from Rs. 1 crore.
Ironically, even a few ruling party councillors were against the proposal. Basavanagudi councillor B.S. Sathyanarayan and Chamarajpet councillor B.V. Ganesh voiced their opposition. “What is the guarantee that the company will set up the plant now?” they said.
Responding to their queries, in-charge Commissioner Siddaiah said the BBMP was only following the court directive. The company had submitted a new schedule to the court and had sought revalidation of the contract so that it could avail loans. The company was given 25 acres only on paper. “There were various hurdles before the company, as it has claimed in court. As per the new schedule, the company will be asked to clear 600 tonnes of fresh waste a day for 453 days and clear the 6 lakh tonnes of accumulated waste at 300 tonnes a day simultaneously. This will be done on 15 acres that has now been cleared,” he said.
He also said that in the remaining 10 acres, the company will be asked to expand its operations.
The BBMP would give the company 1,000 tonnes of waste to process every day. He said that the State government had released Rs. 50 crore that was sanctioned by the 13th Finance Commission for solid waste management. He said that Rs. 4 crore from this would be given to KCDC.