Row over appointment of consultant for Amrut project

Firm entrusted with STP project unqualified, says councillor

The appointment of a consultant for sewage treatment plants (STPs) under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) project in the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation has turned into a controversy.

Experience, technology

On Saturday, Congress councillor Vidya Balakrishnan alleged that Ram Biologicals, the firm that has been entrusted with preparing the detailed project report and implementation of the three STPs in the city, did not qualify in terms of experience and technology.

According to the guidelines of the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation, the consultants selected should have at least three years of experience in similar assignments, the work completion certificates of which should be attached with the technical bid. Ms. Balakrishnan said that Ram Biologicals did not have the required qualification and the electrocoagulation technology that the firm has proposed for the STPs was against Amrut guidelines.

Graft charge

She alleged severe corruption in sanctioning ₹56 lakh to the firm as the first instalment and said no public consultations had been held for any of the STPs.

Lowest bidder

Corporation Secretary Binu Francis said Ram Biologicals was one of the nine consultants shortlisted by the State Sanitation Mission under the Amrut High Power Committee. The corporation had just taken the offer from the lowest bidder from among the nine.

The technical and administrative sanction to the bid was provided after clearance from the Corporation Council, he said.

Projects taken up

Environment expert of the City Mission Management Unit of Amrut S.Sreekumar said the company had undertaken several projects in other States and the electrocoagulation technology was successfully implemented in various STPs in the city approved by the State Pollution Control Board.

Demand for probe

Opposition leader P.M. Suresh Babu demanded a comprehensive inquiry into the matter. Mayor Thottathil Raveendran said a detailed report would be provided to all the councillors soon. They shall seek clarification from the officials and a special council meeting shall be held to discuss the project if necessary.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 2:40:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/row-over-appointment-of-consultant-for-amrut-project/article28230697.ece

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