KARACHI, Sept 8: The Chinese company that has acquired the contract to collect garbage from the city and dispose it of has said that the waste is its property and cannot be sold to a third party without its consent.

About a year ago the city government had given a contract to the Chinese company to collect the garbage from the city and transport it to the landfill sites at $20 per ton and dispose it of.

The Chinese company says that it was also given exclusive rights over the garbage.

A few weeks back the city government without informing or getting permission from the Chinese company entered into an agreement with a cement factory to sell up to 3,000 tons of garbage daily from its Jam Chakro landfill site in Surjani Town at a rate of Rs230 per ton.

The sale agreement between the city government and the cement factory on the Super Highway was done without following the laid down procedure for government organisations while selling or purchasing anything to maintain transparency. Leave alone taking permission from the city council, the matter was not even discussed there. However, after the news appeared in the media, the city government published a notice about its proposed garbage sale to the cement plant and invited objections or better rates for the garbage, again without permission from the Chinese company.

In an interview with Dawn, the chairman and chief executive officer of the Shanghai Shengong Environmental Protection Company, Quin Yu Lin, said the company had entered into an agreement with the city government and under it the garbage at the landfill site was the property of the Chinese company, so it would decide how to dispose it of.

He said his company had not yet been contacted by the city government about the sale of the garbage to anyone else from the landfill site. Though he had heard some rumours about the issue and was in the process of getting more information, he would wait till the city government gave him information officially.

He said the agreement between the city government and the Chinese company was an international agreement involving the governments, and any unilateral notice published in a newspaper could not overrule an international agreement. And if the city government insisted on its plan without SSEPC’s permission, it would be compromising its credibility, he said.

He said that though political as well as law and order situations in the country for the past many months were known to everybody and foreign investors were either pulling back or were postponing their projects, the SSEPC keeping in view the time-tested friendship between Pakistan and China and the fact that Karachi and Shanghai were sister cities, had come forward to start the work and it hoped that the city government would not breach its agreement with the Chinese firm.

He said that the company did not believe in fighting and whenever the city government took up the issue with it, it would initiate a dialogue to sort out the issue amicably. However, if the city government breached the agreement, the SSEPC keeping in view of the friendly relations between the two countries would politely and in a low-key manner, while protecting its legal rights, interests and benefits, pull out of the project, concluded SSEPC CEO Qian Yu Lin.

The executive district officer of the city government’s enterprise and investment promotion department, Shahab Imam, responding to Dawn’s queries regarding the sale of the garbage to a cement factory, earlier had said that the city government, when required, would obtain a no-objection certificate from the Chinese company. He had maintained that there was no need for inviting tenders before entering into an agreement with the Lucky Cement plant. He said he was also in negotiations for selling more garbage to other parties, including a cement plant near the Hub town. He said efforts were being made to generate more funds so that the city government could carry out more development projects for the welfare of the Karachiites.

The agreement between the city government and Lucky Cement clearly states that the “CDGK will get a clear NOC from the Chinese company with whom an earlier agreement has been for the disposal of municipal solid waste that they have no objection to the execution of an agreement with Lucky Cement.”

Meanwhile, responding to Dawn’s queries, the city government’s executive district officer of the municipal services department, Masood Alam, said they had received a letter from the Chinese company asking the city government to provide information regarding its agreement with the cement factory for selling the garbage and also to give it a copy of the agreement signed by the city government and the cement factory.

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