Delay in payment hinders work at Sonsoddo plant


The work on the landfill site at the Sonsoddo solid waste management plant is progressing at a very slow pace, thereby raising questions over the timely completion of the task.
While the plant has already started functioning from last month, it was expected to be fully functional before the monsoon.
Sources in the know admitted that the pace has decelerated and attributed this to the failure of the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) in effecting the payment due to Fomento, the concessionaire of the project. It may be noted that Fomento has already raised three bills of Rs 1.3 crore each with the MMC, but none of the bills has been cleared so far. At the meeting of the high-powered committee chaired by chief minister Manohar Parrikar last month, the MMC was directed to clear the first bill of Fomento immediately. The MMC was also instructed to sign an agreement with SWM consultant P U Asnani, so as to facilitate clearing the successive bills raised by Fomento, and oversee the functioning of the plant. While the first bill was to be cleared upon signing of the concession agreement inked by MMC with Fomento, the successive bills were required to be certified by the MMC's SWM consultant before effecting the payment.
Nearly three weeks later, the MMC is yet to clear any of Fomento's bills, and the inadequate flow of funds has reflected on the pace of work.
MMC sources pointed out that chairperson Arthur D'Silva's refusal to sign the cheque has led to the delay in clearing Fomento's first bill, even though the chief officer has cleared the cheque. D'Silva, when contacted, admitted that there was delay in issuing the cheque but said that it will be cleared within the next two days.
CEO of Fomento Green Sridhar Kamat, when contacted, clearly made known his disappointment. "We are into this (SWM plant) as a corporate social responsibility. We have an agreement with the MMC and both sides are expected to keep their commitments. We have honoured ours by making the SWM plant functional without even receiving a single paisa from the MMC so far. We expect the MMC to honour their commitment by clearing our bills in a timely manner," Kamat said.
Sources pointed out that Asnani's visit to MMC scheduled on February 23 to meet the city fathers and discuss the issues concerning the SWM project, has been postponed.
Confirming this, MMC chief officer Sandhya Kamat said: "We are yet to obtain the government's sanction for signing the agreement with him. As it will take some time for the procedural formalities, Asnani's visit has been postponed to a later date." [TOI]