Mafia didn’t expect 263 contractors to bid for fresh contracts

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) claims to have found the solution to the city’s garbage woes in segregation of waste at source. However, a fortnight after segregation became mandatory; one can still find mounds of mixed garbage dumped across the city without anyone bothering to clear it.

With the garbage threatening to overwhelm the city, the BBMP is yet to find a permanent solution, especially as the communities living around the landfills are up in arms about dumping in their backyard.

Following heavy rain on Sunday, garbage vehicles found it difficult to negotiate the slushy roads to the Mandur landfill. This has resulted in garbage piling up again in the city. And the communities near the landfills protested again.

Hectic lobbying

Meanwhile, there is hectic lobbying in the BBMP with a section of councillors pressing for extension of the contract of the old garbage contractors for another three months. There is another group that is opposed to this. Interestingly, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is divided over this precise issue.

According to sources, one section (led by senior councillors) wants the contracts extended. The contracts, which expired in 2010, have been extended several times now. They will end on October 30.

Sources said that the BBMP Commissioner has the power to extend the contracts for 15 days. To extend them further, the subject will have to be tabled before the BBMP council. “The split in the ruling party is on this issue. The garbage mafia did not anticipate that there would be such good response to the fresh tenders. Of the 89 packages, there are no takers for eight. As many as 263 contractors have bid for the remaining 81.”

Sabotage ploy

Sources also said that the garbage mafia is lobbying with senior councillors to ensure that existing contracts are extended. “This is a ploy to ensure that the new contracts become null and void. According to the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act, the work order should be issued within 90 days of the tender notification. If the contract is extended by three months, the new garbage tender will automatically be quashed,” a source explained.

According to BBMP officials, the technical and financial bids have already been opened. The zonal commissioners had already despatched the files pertaining to the new contracts to the Standing Committee for Health. “The process may take another two months at least. After the committee approves the contracts, it will have to come before the council. Following council approval, it will have to go to the State Government, first the Department of Urban Development and then the Cabinet. A government notification will be issued after Cabinet approval and only then can the work order be issued.”

Court directive

BBMP Commissioner Rajneesh Goel has been directed by the High Court of Karnataka to submit a status report on the garbage tender process and segregation on November 6. This makes one wonder if the garbage lobby will win again or if the new contractors will get a chance this time around.