Disposing Mountain of stinking solid waste in city
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Disposing Mountain of stinking solid waste in city

May 31, 2024

Doubts about chosen contractor’s competence

Learn from past mistakes

Now I learn that the final authority to approve this ‘technical bid’, the State High Power Committee (SHPC), has given its approval. So this work will go to the successful bidder M/s D.H. Patel. The MCC Administrator may request the SHPC to review its earlier decision for reasons mentioned here.

By Bhamy V. Shenoy

Mysureans must have been relieved and happy to read the news that Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) will finally solve the stinking problem in Vidyaranyapuram. MCC has awarded a contract to handle Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) of 6.0 lakh tons accumulated over several years for Rs. 62 crore. When I learnt from newspapers that the contract has been awarded to an Andhra-based company, I was surprised and even shocked. And the  readers will also be shocked after reading this article.

Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) has been following the development of this project ever since Mysuru-Kodagu MP Prathap Simha had invited Zigma to suggest ways to solve the garbage problem. Zigma had made an impressive presentation of their successful projects to stakeholders. They were even close to securing the contract after completing all formalities.

Zigma had considerable experience in biomining to clear the legacy (solid) waste and restore the land to original position with zero residue. Unlike many waste handling companies, Zigma does bio-remediation to convert most of the biodegradable material waste to manure. Their specially designed machinery is able to segregate MSW into different categories.

One of the aggregates, which is segregated, is combustible fraction. It consists of low value/non-recyclable plastics, cloth, bags, polyester materials, tyres, rubber and wood. It is converted into refuse-derived fuel (RDF). It is used by Cement Plants to be used as alternate fuel (as a replacement to coal). In some Plants it is used as ‘Waste to Energy’ to incinerate and produce energy. In their process there is nothing left for landfill and they completely restore land.

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They had successfully carried out restoring MSW landfill sites in Kumbakonam, Noida, Tirupati, Pallavaram, Karaikudi etc., and are currently working at Vadodara, Nagpur, Guwahati, Visakhapatnam, Erode, Kollam, Puducherry etc. In several of them, Zigma has to process more than 10 lakh tons of MSW.

Curious to know why such a company like Zigma lost, I called Nagesh Prabhu, Director of Zigma, to learn about their failure to win the contract. First he corrected me to state it is not Andhra-based company, but D.H. Patel Company from Surat which has won the bid. He added that it is not easy to deal with Karnataka Government and he has no desire to follow up.

According to him, the winner of the tender has no experience of handling this kind of projects. Since he is a grieved party, I decided to learn more about D.H. Patel and searched the internet. To my shock, I found out that M/s D.H. Patel has not listed even one project of handling MSW on their website (http://www.kinsfolkgroup.com/dhpatel.html)

I asked MLA T.S. Srivatsa (KR Constituency) if he is familiar with the background of D.H. Patel. When I told him what I have learnt from the website that D.H. Patel has no experience in handling MSW, he was also surprised. He shared the file which gave details of how D.H. Patel was selected and agreed to inquire about D.H. Patel. There were four companies which had participated in the tender — M/s D.H. Patel, M/s Zigma Environ Solutions Pvt. Ltd, M/s Jathin Infra Pvt. Ltd. and M/s Aadarsh Bharat Enviro Pvt. Ltd.

Zigma was dropped because they failed to upload details of their vehicles.

M/s Jathin was dropped because they did not provide document giving their capacity to convert waste to energy and M/s Aadarsh was dropped because they failed to upload several documents like Waste to Energy, registration of vehicles and projects undertaken.

While it was possible to learn about Zigma and D.H. Patel by accessing their websites, I could not get access to any information on other two bidders.

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Above process of rejecting tenders specially in the case of Zigma raises two questions. Even a cursory glance would have showed that Zigma is highly qualified. Why was their tender rejected on a flimsy ground of not uploading vehicle registration? Concerned staff could have asked for it.

Also tender rules require calling tender again if there is only one party participating. Why did the tender committee fail to follow this rule when only D.H. Patel was left after rejecting other three bidders?

Luckily for Mysuru, one of the grieved parties M/s Jathin has filed a court case asking to stay the work order on Mar. 28, 2024. I have not succeeded in getting any update despite asking several high level officials connected with this process. Now that the High Court has not given a stay, my attempt to find out the status of the contract from officials did not find any result.

As can be surmised from the above brief summary of the process of giving contract to a company with doubtful capabilities, Mysuru will lose chance of its legacy waste being cleared in time to qualify for a better rank on Swachh Survekshan.

We the people of Mysuru should write to Dr. G.C. Prakash, Regional Commissioner of Mysuru, who is also the Administrator of MCC, urging him to take a look at the tender awarded to Mr. Hardik Bhikhabhai Khunt (M/s D.H. Patel) without waiting for the Court to decide.

MCC need to move quickly to bring a fully qualified company to clear the landfill at Vidyaranyapuram. Otherwise we will end up spending Rs. 62 crore without solving the stinking problem as K.B. Ganapathy reminded us yesterday in his Abracadabra about the past experience with the Raja Marga work and the multi-level vehicle parking project in the Town Hall premises.

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