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Tussle between BBMP and contractor leads to closure biogas plants

Karnataka : Bengaluru , 26/01/2017 The biomethanisation plant at Varthur ward never started functioning.

Bengaluru: The biomethanisation plant in Domlur is not the only wet waste management centre that has shut down. Nine other plants commissioned in 2014 were shut down by the first week of January after a tussle between the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the contractor.

The BMPP alleges that the contractor has not fulfilled its obligations, while the contractor claims that they have not been paid dues of Rs21.09 crore since December 2013. However, it is the residents who are the biggest losers in this fight, as wet waste which was handled locally in these plants are now being transported many kilometres away.

The contractor used to pick up waste and take it to the plant, where another level of segregation was undertaken before processing. Padmasree, president of Koramangala RWA “Monthly payments have not been done for plants where proper maintenance is not done,” said BBMP Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management) Sarfaraz Khan. “If they fail to function as per standard operating procedure, the BBMP will take control of the plants. We will rope in residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) if they show interest in managing the plants,” said Mr. Khan. The contractor, Ashoka Biogreen Pvt. Ltd., has refuted these claims. In Varthur ward, where the plant never took off, residents have long been campaigning for the plant to be made functional.

‘We want the plant’

If the contractor fails to function as per standard operating procedure, the BBMP will take control of the plants. We will rope in RWAs if they show interest in managing the plants. — Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner (Solid Waste Management), BBMP “We want a biogas plant here as it would allow wet waste from at least two or three wards — Varthur, Hagathur and Kadugodi — to be processed locally,” said Anjali Saini, a member of Whitefield Rising, referring to the Varthur plant. This will reduce the incidence of garbage on the streets, she felt, as the pick-up vehicles could make trips in the evening as well. “At the moment, they have to go almost 50 km to drop the waste, so an additional trip is out of the question,” she explained. She felt the idea to bring in the RWAs was ill-conceived. “Why can’t the BBMP manage it on its own?”

In this case, the contractor claimed that the BBMP had not ensured water and electricity connections to the Varthur plant for two years.

In Koramangala, a plant that has been closed for the past 10 days had been processing commercial waste from nearby restaurants. “It helped to manage the commercial waste and to light up lamps in the compound. We are planning to set up a similar plant for handling residential waste,” said Padmasree, president of the Koramangala RWA.

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