Ghaziabad: Civic body seeking new vendor for waste processing
Ghaziabad municipal corporation officials are searching for a new vendor to handle the city's waste processing plant after allegations of illegal dumping. The newly elected mayor claimed that trucks marked with "MCD" were carrying solid waste from Delhi for processing by Geron Engineering. However, Geron officials refuted the allegations, stating that the trucks were carrying refuse-derived fuel (RDF) to a new site in Bahadarpur. The corporation has initiated an inquiry into the matter and is suspending work at the plant pending the completion of the investigation.
A day after the city mayor claimed that she seized nine trucks that were allegedly carrying solid waste from Delhi for being dumped at Ghaziabad municipal corporation’s waste processing site in Morta, the corporation officials said they are searching for another vendor to handle the city’s waste processing plant.
Newly elected mayor Sunita Dayal said on Friday that Geron Engineering, the company processing waste in Morta, is processing Delhi’s waste. She also alleged that the seized nine trucks bore markings of “MCD” – Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Refuting her allegations, officials from Geron stated that the trucks were carrying refuse-derived fuel (RDF), not any kind of solid waste, to their new site in Bahadarpur. They also claimed to have no knowledge or official communication from the municipal corporation regarding the suspension of their services.
Geron Engineering, which has leased private land in Morta and established the plant at its own expense for a five-year period, is paid ₹425 per metric tonne for waste processing. Additionally, five other vendors are contracted to transport waste from the five corporation zones to Geron’s site in Morta.
“We refute all allegations in the FIR and are in the process of submitting all necessary documents to the investigating officer (IO) and the corporation. The trucks carrying RDF started arriving only this week, and they are being taken to our new plant in Bahadarpur, where they will be used as raw material/fuel. The nine vehicles seized on Friday have GPS installed, and their documents regarding the electronic route map and proof of trucks laden with RDF will be submitted soon,” said Ankit Aggarwal, CEO of Geron Engineering.
“In fact, we have not charged or issued any bills to the Ghaziabad civic body for the past three months. We are solely responsible for waste processing, while five different private contractors engaged by the corporation handle the transportation of solid waste from the five corporation zones to our site in Morta. Our work is limited to processing waste, not transportation,” he further said.
In response to a query made by HT on Friday, MCD denied that it is dumping waste in Ghaziabad and said no MCD vehicle was being used for such a purpose. “It is clarified that MCD has awarded the integrated contract of biomining of legacy waste in Bhalswa and Ghazipur dump sites. Contractors are responsible for bio-mining and disposal of segregated fractions as per applicable guidelines. They have made some arrangements for the disposal of Refused derived fuel at a waste to the energy facility in Ghaziabad. Processing of RDF is allowed at waste-to-energy plants”, a spokesperson of MCD said.
The corporation has initiated an inquiry in the matter, and its report will be submitted in a couple of days.
“The FIR has been lodged, and our inquiry report is still pending. However, given recent developments, we are now searching for a new vendor to take up the job of waste processing, and we will issue a new tender. Additionally, we are exploring alternative land options. Work at Morta is currently suspended, pending the completion of the police investigation, and our inquiry report will be in by Monday,” said Nitin Gaur, municipal commissioner.
The FIR was filed based on a complaint by Mithilesh Kumar, the corporation’s city health officer. The FIR alleges that the dumping by trucks has been taking place for the past three months. It said the waste processing firm was charging the Ghaziabad municipal corporation for processing its solid waste, along with the alleged incoming waste from Delhi.
“The FIR has been registered under sections 420 (cheating) and 269 (negligently acting likely to spread infection or disease), along with provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act and provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of the Indian Penal Code at Nandgram police station, and the investigation is ongoing. The trucks were seized and brought to Nandgram police station,” said Ravi Kumar Singh, assistant commissioner of police (city 2).
According to officials, the company was awarded a five-year contract by the corporation in June 2022, and it is paid ₹425 per metric tonne for waste processing at Morta.
Officials estimate that to date, about 5-7 lakh tonnes of waste have been received, and approximately 70% of this waste has been processed so far. Amid the present controversy, if the waste processing is suspended, it will add about 1400-1500 metric tonnes of daily solid waste per day at the corporation’s site in Morta.