KERALA

Panchayat asked to revoke building permit for WTE plant

The government has cancelled the order directing the Kochi Corporation to convert the concession agreement executed with G.J. Ecopower Ltd. into a lease agreement for the proposed waste-to-energy plant at Brahmapuram here.

An order issued by the Department of Local-Self Government on August 3 has directed the Secretary of Vadavucode-Puthencruz panchayat (where the Brahmapuram land is located) to consider cancelling the building permit issued to the Director of G.J. Ecopower Pvt. Ltd for the project and take follow-up action as per the rules prescribed.

The approval granted to the G.J. Nature Care consortium for the project at the civic body’s land in Brahmapuram was cancelled by the government on April 30, 2020. The government had stated that the consortium had failed to achieve the financial closure of the project even after 1,400 days of signing of the agreement.

The government had approved the waste-to-energy project submitted by G.J Nature Care consortium at a cost of Rs. 295 crore on January 4, 2016. The corporation and the firm had executed a concession agreement for implementing the project on Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis on February 17, 2016.

A meeting of the State Level Advisory Committee on Waste Management held on December 12, 2018 had given its nod to convert the concession agreement executed between the corporation and the firm into a lease agreement.

A senior official of the G.J. Eco Power Ltd. on Wednesday termed the government decision to cancel approval for the project and agreement with the Kochi Corporation as ‘unfair’.

“The latest order is part of the vindictive measures being taken against us as the case filed by us against the government decision is slated for hearing at the Bench of the Chief Justice in the Kerala High Court on Friday,” he alleged.

The Hindu had reported on July 19, 2020 that 10 firms had evinced interest in the centralised waste-to-energy plant of 300 tonnes per day capacity after the government entrusted the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) to issue fresh tenders for the project.

The firm to be chosen for the execution of the centralised plant at 20 acres in Brahmapuram will enjoy the rights to mortgage the leasehold rights on the 20-acres at Brahmapuram for raising funds for the project.

The Secretary, Kochi Corporation, has been asked to hand over the 20 acres to the KSIDC on a lease basis. The government agency will sub-lease the land to the firm for 27 years, with permission to mortgage the leasehold rights on the land for raising funds for the project only.

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