The Department of Urban Affairs has rejected the financial bid offered by three agencies that came forward to set up the waste-to-energy-based units at the proposed solid waste treatment plant at Brahmapuram.

The bid was rejected after an expert committee found the terms and conditions “unacceptable and unrealistic”. The government will now adopt the ‘Swiss challenge approach,’ a competitive bidding process, for implementing the facility. No bidder will have a predefined advantage in this process. It also provides companies with considerable incentives to propose new ideas.

The plant will be implemented under a DBFOT (design, build, finance, operate and transfer) pattern in the public-private participatory mode. As per the original project proposal, the new plant will be capable of processing 500 tonnes of waste daily.

It is learnt that the agencies came up with an unscientific estimate of the electricity generation from the solid waste processed at the plant.

The companies gave a projection that only 14 units of power could be generated from one tonne of solid waste. Experts of the Kerala Suchitwa Mission, who vetted the bid, pointed out that at least 300 to 400 units of power could be generated from one tonne of solid waste.

As per the original project proposal, the operation of the plant will be bound under an agreement by which the energy generated will be added to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) pool. The board will buy the power generated at the plant. It was also proposed that the government will provide the difference, if the cost of power was higher than the rate at which KSEB purchases from other stations.

The government will provide 10 acres near the now defunct plant of the Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram for the new project. The government will have no financial obligation while the selected entity can decide on the quantum of investment.

The proposal had stated that the project will be an integrated solid waste management plant with minimum land fill, producing electrical energy output capacity to cater to treatment of 500 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Other development opportunities proposed includes land development, solid waste management, electrical energy and manure.

The new Brahmapuram plant was among the three regional solid waste treatment plants proposed to be built shortly using a feasible technology model. The other two plants were supposed to come up at Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

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