The Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) has signed a waste to energy project with a consortium of three companies at Achan. Under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the plant will be designed, developed and managed by the consortium of Highland Automobiles Private Limited, Key Stone Energy Limited, and Astrix at a cost of around Rs 120 crore.
The plant would generate 5-megawatt of electricity by consuming 500 metric tons of waste that Srinagar city produces every day. This electricity would be sold to J&K government at 7.5 paisa per unit, a rate that is 3 paisa higher than the current unit-purchasing amount.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had proposed a waste-to-energy plant at Achan to the SMC two years ago. The aim was to end the crisis of solid waste management in Srinagar and to create a mechanism for waste management at affordable cost. The tribunal had also taken strong exception to delay in setting up the plant.
The NGT has now directed the municipal corporation that the project should be completed within 18 months from the day of signing of agreement. And in case the companies fail to do so, they will have to pay Rs 50,000 for every single day that exceeds the deadline.
Reports from Srinagar said SMC has been struggling to contract out the project even after issuing tenders more than seven times. Either the bidding firms left the contract formalities mid-way or there was some disagreement over the power-purchasing rate.
Last year, three companies had participated in the bidding process of whom two withdrew. One company, Spaak Bresson Private Limited, was tendered to design, finance, build and operate the project, but due to differences over the Power Purchase Agreement, the tender was cancelled.
SMC’s Solid Waste Management Officer, Nazir Ahmad Baba, told Kashmir Reader that the delay in contracting out the project occurred because the entire cost was to be borne by the bidder. Because of this, firms were hesitant to invest a huge amount.
“We hope the plant is set up much before the deadline, to avoid the penalty put forth by the NGT. The bidder consortium would also earn a good amount as the state government would buy the electricity at a higher cost that it usually does,” Baba said.