BMC plans yet another waste-to-energy plant in Deonar

After getting a go-ahead to construct the waste-to-energy project at Deonar last month, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is now planning yet another waste-to-energy project, probably three times bigger than the first one, officials hint. The final decision on the second waste-to-energy plant in Deonar is likely to be taken in the next seven to eight days.

The first waste to energy to waste plant will process around 600 metric tonne of garbage daily and generate power for sale in the open market. Whereas the second plant that the civic body will process three times more (1600 to 1800 metric tonnes) of garbage daily as compared to the first one sources said.

Stuck for six years and mired in controversies, the Rs 1,100 crore Deonar waste-to-energy plant proposal was cleared by the BMC standing committee last month without any discussion.

In 2013, the BMC had invited an expression of interest (EoI) for scientific closure of the city's largest dumping ground at Deonar, which has been in operation since 1927. The move came after it was directed to stop dumping waste at Deonar by the Bombay High Court.

Following this, in 2014, the Mumbai civic body proposed setting up the waste-to-energy plant at Deonar landfill, but it was scrapped after several contractors protested over the stringent conditions in the tender documents.

In 2016, the Bombay HC had banned new construction in the city, until BMC increases its waste treatment capacity. Following frequent fire incidents in 2015 and 2016 at the Deonar dumping ground, BMC was directed to stop dumping waste there.

The BMC then amended the tender conditions and re-floated it in 2016, for which the Centre agreed to provide Rs 571 crore. But, no bidder responded stating they lacked the expertise to set up a 3,000-metric tonne garbage processing plant.

The BMC was directed to augment waste treatment capacity to at least 11,000 tonne per day by June 30, 2017. Then, in 2018, a fresh tender was floated after reducing the plant capacity to 600 metric tonne. The BMC received three bids, and shortlisted one of the contractors.

In 2019, the Bombay HC had set the deadline of December 31, 2019 for BMC to dump waste at Deonar dumping ground. The BMC had later sought extension citing it would require more time to appoint contractors responsible for the waste-to-energy plant at Deonar.

The contract was allotted to the lowest bidder-Chennai M S W Pvt Ltd. The BMC will give 12 hectare of the over 120-hectare Deonar landfill to the contractor to set up the plant in a time span of 40 months and then operate it for 15 years.

"We are currently discussing the details of what should be the capacity of the second plant. We will come to a conclusion in next seven to eight days, following which a proposal will be prepared,” a senior BMC official said.

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