LAHORE: Terminating the contracts of two Turkish contractors nine days before the stipulated time, the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) on Monday seized machinery of the Ozpak and Albayrak despite resistance by the contractors’ staff and started ‘cleanliness operation itself’.
According to a press release issued by the LWMC, the move was made with consultation and consent of the contractors — a claim both the contractors denied vehemently as they threatened to take up the matter with national and international courts.
According to the LWMC, “both contractors shared their disengagement plan and the company, with the mutual consultation and consent, took over machinery and four workshops at the Outfall Road, Sikandaria, Valencia and one near the Children Hospital”.
Ozpak and Albayrak ‘threaten to move courts’
The contractors, however, denied ‘consent and consultation’ claim, saying “on Dec 21, at 2am LWMC, in connivance with the Punjab police and under the protection of secretary local government, forcefully and illegally took possession of our workshops, removed Turkish staff and manhandled them. We will initiate legal proceedings in national and international courts and fight for our rights to bring justice to the culprits of this heinous act”.
According to the LWMC officials, the company would continue cleanliness operation and as per the contract with the Turkish contractors, the machinery had to be transferred to the company anyway at the end of the contract. Furthermore, they added, according to a letter issued by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the machinery had to remain with the LWMC.
As per the spokesman for the LWMC, the company would perform the job itself till the hiring of the contractor(s).
Meanwhile, it will prepare documents for hiring contractor, advertise them and start the hiring process.
The LWMC had painted itself into a corner when it failed to initiate process for hiring contractors on time. The original contract of both the contractors expired in early February this year. Instead of starting the process for hiring new contractor last year, the company kept delaying it till the last moment and finally renewed the contract of existing contractors till Feb 29.
In the next few months, it was extended twice — till May 29 and finally till Dec 31 — instead of hiring new contractors. Now, before the formal expiry of the contract, the LWMC moved to abrogate it prematurely and seem to have risked legal proceedings.
“The LWMC may end up being on the losing side on the both ends as it may lose the legal fight and it may not be able to perform the cleanliness job efficiently as the foreigner companies were doing,” said a former official of the company.
“Is not it wonderful that a company that had not been able to prepare even a prequalification document — the basic document in a contracting process — in the last two years now plans to take up double responsibility, clean the whole city as well as initiate the hiring process simultaneously,” he asked.
According to Mr Ozel of the Albayrak, the LWMC shared a ‘disengagement document’ with his firm early this month.
“We, however, rejected it and wrote back to the LWMC. It never responded but suddenly it has taken over all our machines and workshops. This illegality would be challenged,” he said.
Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2020