BERHAMPUR: The much-awaited solid waste management plant at Mohuda, 12 km from here, is still hanging fire even after selection of a construction agency in March 2017 for setting up of the project. Technical issues in tender process have reportedly delayed the signing of MoU between the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) and the agency.Sources said the city generates 154 tonnes of solid waste every day which is dumped at Chandania hill on the outskirts of Berhampur. Garbage generated in the city is likely to touch 250 tonne mark in the next 30 years.
A decade back, the BeMC had planned to establish a solid waste management plant at Chandania with the assistance of Asian Development Bank but the project could not go ahead as a large part of the hill land belongs to the Forest department. The BeMC failed to provide an alternative land to the department as a result of which, the latter refused to hand over the hill land for waste management plant.
Later, the BeMC decided to set up the plant at Mohuda over 31.62 acres of land and the project was cleared after a public hearing. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone of the project in 2013. Accordingly, the civic body signed a concession agreement with the Vadodra-based agency UPL Environmental Engineers Limited (UPLEEL) with a target to complete the project by 2015. Even as the company agreed to collect garbage for 20 years, the UPLEEL pulled out from the project due to inordinate delay in setting it up.
With little respite from poor sanitary condition in the city, the civic body urged the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) Department to float a fresh tender for the project and Pune-based Mayo Vessels Company was selected for the purpose in 2017. It was decided to take up the project at an estimated cost of Rs 44.44 crore on design-build-operate-transfer (DBOT) mode. While Odisha Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (OUIDF) agreed to provide Rs 40 crore, the BeMC was supposed to meet the rest amount of Rs 4.44 crore.
In order to check further delay and speed up work, the BeMC constructed the boundary wall of the land spending over Rs 76 lakh from its own fund. But the signing of MoU between BeMC and the agency is yet to be carried out. In January 2018, the Commissioner of BeMC, in a letter to the company, had asked that necessary documents be furnished, including bank guarantee, to execute the agreement. But the company is yet to submit the documents raising doubts over the fate of the project. Meanwhile, resentment is brewing among the people residing near Chandania hill over growing size of dumping area.