LAHORE: The Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) on Friday announced taking legal action against one of its two international contractors, a Turkish firm, for breaching the contract and causing sanitation issues in the city.
However, the contractor has denied the charges, alleging that the company did not make ‘significant payments’ since March last year.
The LWMC also claimed to have lifted around 10,000 tonne waste during the last 48 hours by deploying extra machinery from its limited resources.
“Residents of North Lahore are facing cleanliness/sanitation problems due to breach of contract by a contractor as non-availability of 40% of the machinery on its part has severely affected the cleanliness operation in the areas,” LWMC Managing Director/CEO Dr Shahzeb Hasnain said in a press release.
Turkish firm denies charges
He said that despite several notices, the contractor failed to bring all of its machinery into the field, leaving the LWMC with no option but to take legal action.
“The contractor (Albayrak) is lacking seriousness in improving the sanitation situation in the city despite the fact that the company (LWMC) paid billions of rupees to it during past eight years.”
Mr Hasnain said the company, with its limited resources, conducted special cleanliness operations in the area supposed to be covered by the contractor.
“Since we are addressing complaints on a priority basis, we will ensure making affected areas of North Lahore zero waste in the next 48 hours,” he added.
The LWMC has also served a notice on the contractor for showing inefficiency in timely collection and disposal of solid waste.
“Waste collection and transportation for its final disposal must be carried out by the contractor in true letter and spirit. And it must be noted that ‘as per clause 2.4.3 of Technical Specification of the Contract, it is your responsibility to ensure that no waste be piled up in open spaces and no waste shall be piled up in open spaces’.”
The letter reminds the contractor (Albayrak) of being responsible for all adverse impact and harms of any waste pile on environment and the people. It also mentions clauses 1.4.6, 2.1.7, 2.1.8, 2.1.9, 3.1.1 and 4.2.3 that bind the contractor to fulfill its responsibilities.
“It is required to clear all waste accumulated at temporary collection points within 04 hours during intense weather. But, the same is not being complied with which is causing severe public complaints, stinky environment and vector flies/birds/rodents to spread different diseases,” the letter tells the contractor.
A spokesperson for the contractor, Albayrak, rejected the allegations levelled by the LWMC, claiming that it fulfilled its role and responsibilities under the contractual obligations.
“There are some issues about which the LWMC wrote letters to us and we responded (to) them too,” the spokesperson said.
But, she added, the LWMC couldn’t make significant/conclusive payments to the contractor to date since March last year.
“We are receiving partial payments as a big chunk of the payment is still pending on the part of the LWMC. Moreover, at Lakhudair dump site, there are severe issues related to timely dumping of the waste,” she explained.
She said despite all this, the contractor was trying hard to be up to the expectations of the LWMC.
It is pertinent to mention that the complaints of delayed waste collection, disposal and dumping, old machinery, delayed payments etc continue emerging at least for the last one and a half years. Though the contract of the both contractors expired, the LWMC couldn’t find new ones despite getting the bidding process done due to rates issue (per tonne cost of waste lifting, transporting and dumping). This forced the company to extend the contract period of the contractors twice.
Moreover, during the last two years, 5/6 LWMC MDs were either changed by the government or they themselves preferred to leave the post owing to various administrative, functional and operational issues.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2020