Kochi: The Kerala Government has decided to replace biominer Zonta Infratech which was widely blamed for major environmental pollution brought about by fire at the Brahmapuram waste dump yard.
The State Government will cancel the contract awarded to Zonta Infratech for carrying out biomining at the Brahmapuram waste treatment plant. Retenders will be floated for carrying out biomining on an emergency basis.
A report submitted to the National Green Tribunal by Sarada Muraleedharan, Additional Chief Secretary to the Local Self-Government Department, has said that measures taken to cancel the present contract were in progress and that a new contract would be awarded within two-and-a-half months.
If the process of awarding the retender encounters a delay, the government department concerned will step in to undertake the task.
The action comes after it was found during an inspection conducted in the wake of the blaze at Brahmapuram that biomining was not being carried out in a proper manner. The contracting company had not segregated the waste in the proper way. In addition, the Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) that is produced after recyclable material is removed during the biomining process, has not been removed from Brahmapuram till now.
Rs 54-crore shady deal
The Kochi Corporation had awarded the contract to Zonta for Rs 54 crore for carrying out biomining at Brahmapuram. Already, over Rs 10.5 crore has been paid to the company.
It was earlier alleged Zonta was awarded the contract despite inadequate expertise in biomining.
Nine months to clear mess
The entire process of biomining the legacy waste at Brahmapuram will take nine months. A total of 95,923 tonnes of residue in the form of ash mixed with sand was generated at the waste treatment facility after the blaze in March.
The National Green Tribunal has given permission to the State Government to carry out a capping procedure of the area in a scientific manner as a temporary measure to prevent the ash from leaking into the water bodies in the area and polluting them during the monsoon.
This residue, which is a mix of ash and sand, will be scientifically disposed of after removing other materials from it.
The processing of the residue at Brahmapuram will be carried out after segregating the plastic waste into the three categories of burnt, partially burnt, and unburnt material. The National Green Tribunal has also directed that the Water Resources and Public Health Departments must join hands with the Local Self-Government Department in carrying out this task.
The Government has sought assistance from the public sector institution, Engineers India Limited, for carrying out biomining.
Brahmapuram sand for highway construction
The Government informed the Tribunal that the sand that is recovered from Brahmapuram at the end of the process of scientific biomining would be used for purposes such as construction of National Highways. The sand could be used for levelling low-lying areas and for construction projects, after ensuring that it does not contain any toxic materials.