Trash to treasure: State eyes revenue from scrap; vehicle recycling plants to be set up in MMR

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government, hoping to cash in on the market demand for scrap, wants to set up vehicle recycling plants in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) and has asked the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to work on this.

India is the third largest scrap importer in the world. Currently, the nation imports 31 per cent of scrap from France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and others. Since there is immense market demand, the state government plans to generate revenue from scrapped vehicles.

Dilip Kawathkar, joint project director--public relations, MMRDA, said, "We have already floated a tender calling consultants to conduct and prepare a feasibility study report. Once the report is ready, we can proceed with the project."

According to the MMRDA, the feasibility plan involves demand assessment, economic feasibility and cost estimates in the current scenario, revenue sources and suggestion of a business model for the plant on public private partnership basis, including construction. Also, the consultant must conduct surveys to gauge the marketability of the recycled material from scrapped vehicles.

Pricewaterhouse Coopers(PwC), a private consultancy company has found that 38 per cent of vehicles in Mumbai are more than 14 years old, while 15 per cent are 10-14 years old. The current scrap market is unregulated and carries out dismantling in an unscientific manner, PwC has found. Also, business is done informally, in hazardous working conditions. Hence, there is a need to introduce proper policy measures.

HC order fuelled crackdown

According to records, between October 2018 and February 2019, Mumbai Traffic Police had seized 1,500 abandoned vehicles. The crackdown was initiated following a Bombay high court order in July 2018, directing police to remove vehicles parked in no-parking zones for over 10 hours.

Currently, the first step in the process involves pasting a notice on the abandoned vehicle found by traffic police. If there is no response to the notice for 48 hours, the vehicle is towed away to a traffic chowky. Police then start looking for the vehicle’s owner by contacting the regional transport office. If the owner is not traced, a no-objection certificate is obtained from the RTO to auction the vehicle. The value of these vehicles is ascertained by traffic police. Such an e-auction was held for the first time in March.

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