Civic issues
Chennai-based anti-corruption NGO, Arappor Iyakkam has called for scrapping of tenders announced for solid waste management (SWM) in 11 zones in the city.

Chennai-based anti-corruption NGO, Arappor Iyakkam has called for scrapping of tenders announced for solid waste management (SWM) in 11 zones in the city. This development came after the proposed tenders allegedly carried data and instructions in violation of the SWM rules, 2016.

According to the data available on the Tamil Nadu Tenders Information System, the floated tenders state that 95% of the total waste collected will be taken to landfills. Chennai city generates close to 3,200 tonnes of garbage on a daily basis. This garbage is collected from bins in 15 zones and split between Chennai's two dumping yards - Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. The civic body has floated tenders for collection and transportation of garbage from 11 of these zones and divided it into three packages with a total value of Rs 4000 crore.

"While the SWM rules and by-law states that only a minimal residue should be taken to the landfills, the current tender guarantees that 95% of the waste will be taken. This is in contravention to the rules. The minimum guarantee has been extended for a period of 8 years with an increase in the amount of waste to the landfill every year," says Jayaram Venkatesan, convenor of Arappor Iyakkam. "If the tender is processed, then one crore tonnes of waste will be dumped at the Perungudi yard in the next 8 years," he adds.

Further, the tender allegedly violates SWM rules that call for biodegradable waste to be composted or used in bio-methanation units.

According to the tender, says the NGO, 358 tonnes or 90% of the total biodegradable waste collected will not be disposed off as per the rules. The waste will be transported to Kodungaiyur, which stands in contradiction to the existing rule. Similarly 99.9% of recyclable waste will allegedly be transported to Kodungaiyur as opposed to being sorted or recycled at a decentralised material recovery facilities.

When TNM contacted Greater Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash however he denied the allegations.

"There are absolutely no violations. Cent percent as per rules and statutes, including the 2015 rules . The propaganda is malicious with almost no understanding of the subject," he stated. He, however, added that the documents regarding the tender on the website is from an earlier date. "The creation of the documents began in 2012 when the rules were not there yet. So the provisions would not have been followed in the core of the documents. Later on, a lot of things have changed," he adds.

He has however told ToI that 'not every aspect of the draft was changed.'

Responding to this, Arappor Iyakkam points out that irrespective of the Corporation's claims, the bidders for the tender will only be exposed to the existing number on the tender and will therefore be misled.