Nagpur News: The decision of NMC to award Bhandewadi sewage treatment plant (STP) expansion project to a joint venture of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL) has virtually divided the Standing Committee with most of its members opposing the project. The move to allot the project on PPP model has invited the wrath of CAG earlier which has termed the project to be of no use.
Opposition to the project is brewing amongst most of the 16-member Standing Committee members who are expected to meet the Commissioner in this regard shortly. Sources disclosed that the Rs 947.69 crore contract was passed in a jiffy. “Most of the Standing Committee members were yet to reach the hall when the decision was taken,” said an agitated member Dr. Prashant Chopra. “This is nothing but an insult of the elected representatives,” added the member.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had already raised objections over the project. The CAG report says that ‘the new proposal to enhance existing STP from 80 MLD to 200 MLD under PPP model proves to be of no use. The proposal should be scrapped as not required at all. Already, the NMC and citizens are facing the brunt of PPP projects. The Starbus and 24 x 7 water supply project are fine example, says the report.
Considering the past experience, the PPP model is nothing but handing over public money, public property and public resources into private hands. This PPP model project stands unjustified, added the report further.
Leader of Opposition in Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) Vikas Thakre came down heavily on the civic body for providing lucrative contracts to Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL), the company that has failed miserably in the 24 x 7 water scheme.
The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) led ruling alliance in NMC, is bent on providing favours to VIL. The CMD of the company Arun Lakhani is also a Director in Purti Group owned by Nitin Gadkari. “It is amply clear as to who calls the shots,” alleged Thakre, pointing towards the close association of Lakhani with Gadkari.
Thakre said that the Danaganj Shopping Mall contract was also awarded to VIL on March 28, 2011. “Till now, VIL has not deposited the premium amount of Rs 6 crore with the NMC as promised,” said Thakre.
Coming back to the augmentation and expansion of Bhandewadi STP, Thakre said that the private operator (VIL) has been given rights to sell 200 MLD of treated water though the tender is restricted to 120 MLD only. This is nothing but an attempt to provide profit to the operator. The pivate operator VIL will have to bear absolutely nothing in terms of money, he said.
Moreover, the NMC has agreed to pay Rs 37 crore annually to the operator as maintenance cost which is ridiculous. “How the NMC has arrived at this figure of Rs 37 crore,” he questioned.
Thakre said that there is a gross violation of JNNURM norms too as the private operator was decided without taking approval from JNNURM.
By Rohinikant Matey