Even though the Margao Municipal Council has approved the draft agreement to be signed with Fomento Green to handle the city’s garbage at Sonsdo, the tearing hurry in which it was approved without taking into account the ground reality raises questions whether the project will be yet another white elephant.
At a meeting held on Friday, Margao Municipal Council Chairperson Sushila Naik appealed to the members not to oppose the project for the sake of opposing and stressed that it was the need of the hour.
However, she was in such a tearing hurry to get the approval that she put it to vote even though Arthur D’Silva was on his feet seeking some clarifications.
Pratima Coutinho, the only other councilor to raise queries stressed that she was not opposed to the project and emphasized that it should serve the interest of the city and not individuals.
She also wondered why the entire amount has to be paid in advance given the fact that the project is being undertaken on Design, Build, Operate, Own and Transfer basis and demanded to know whether the company will be depositing a performance guarantee.
Notwithstanding past disastrous experiences in handling the city’s garbage, the councilors approved the draft agreement that stipulates that the council will pay the entire cost of the project in one go even before it starts.
The project is estimated at Rs 7.31 crore and the MMC resolved to pay the entire amount after getting a grant from the government, which apparently is assured given the fact that the council has the blessings of Chief Minister Digambar Kamat.
Ironically, even though the draft agreement proposes that the entire amount be paid in advance, there is nothing to protect the interest of the council and the company is not even asked to deposit a performance guarantee that can be later on en-cashed if the company fails to deliver.
The councilors also failed to take into account the fact that the council has for the past one year failed to hand over a proper site to the company to dump the solid untreatable waste which is meant to be used mainly as land fill.
Fomento Green is facing an uphill task in managing the Sonsdo site due to the garbage accumulated there over the years which needs to be shifted. Even though it has installed the ‘Trommel’ machine nearly two months back, the same is lying idle for want of a site to dump the waste.
And though the government has proposed to acquire around 50,000 square metres from Raia Village close to Sonsdo, the actual transfer of the land is likely to take some time given the fact that Raia residents have opposed the land acquisition.