Kochi: The Rs 295-crore waste-to-energy plant to be set up at Brahmpuram for processing the solid wastes generated in Kochi may turn out to be a white elephant for the corp and the government. The project, to be implemented under the build-operate-transfer scheme, and touted as the solution to solid waste problem of the corporation, rests on unproven technology and financials, experts in the field said.
Although the Kochi Corporation is not incurring any capital expenditure for the project, it would be saddled with the recurring cost of transportation of waste to the plant as well as part of the cost for the power produced from the plant. According to the details available from the presentation made by GJ Nature Care and Energy Pvt Ltd, a Kochi-based consortium that won the contract, the corporation will have to incur an annual expenditure of Rs 13. 84 cr for purchasing the power produced from the plant.
The power produced by the company will be Rs 18.42 power per unit. But, according to the guidelines of the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, the electricity board will not be able purchase the power at this price. So the company plans to sell power at the rate of Rs 11.68 per unit for KSEB and collect the difference from corporation.
A presentation by the company shows that the “corporation is obliged to pay the difference between the quoted rate and rate fixed by the SERC, for the power up to 250 units per ton”. Even the corporation is not having a clear idea about economic and technological feasibility of the project.
The corporation standing committee chairperson for health V.K. Minimol told DC that the corporation is having apprehensions about the project. ‘We are hopeful that the project will turn out to be a positive venture for the city. The existing waste processing plant has reached a saturation point and the civic body must have a new plant. Since, the state government is funding the project we hope the corporation will not have much financial burden”, she said.
Critics point out that the state government and the corporation will have to shell out Rs 1,500 cr for the purchasing power from the company in the next 20 years if the project is implemented.