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LWMC inflicts mammoth loss of Rs45 bln in seven years

LWMC inflicts mammoth loss of Rs45 bln in seven years

LAHORE A single miscalculated and misjudged decision of former Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif has inflicted mammoth loss of Rs45 billion on the provincial exchequer, disclosed renowned anchorperson and analyst Kamran Shahid in his widely-watched show On The Front.

Back then in 2008, then Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif constituted Project Management Unit (PMU) aimed at plummeting garbage level to zero by ensuring minimum pollution. The whole programme was dubbed as ‘Zero Pollution Zero Garbage . Despite spending millions on PMU, the project was dropped.

Following this, Shehbaz launched Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and for doing so, rules were either disregarded or revoked while contracts were given on basis of sheer nepotism. Despite grave objections raised by special secretary finance and law, Shehbaz Sharif approved the summary in this regard.

In first phase, Shehbaz-led Punjab govt hired services of foreign consultancy firm Ice Tech aimed at disposing garbage and producing electricity by recycling the waste material. Then in the second phase, Punjab govt clandestinely inked an agreement [worth billions] with LWMC and handed over manpower of City District Government Lahore comprising 10600 employees, 500 vehicles, six customized workshops, 50 waste enclosures and three dumping sites to Turkish conglomerate.

In the third phase, Ice Tech suggested LWMC to outsource another two companies, thus giving birth to two more companies under controversial tenders.

In just seven years, Punjab govt had issued whooping Rs70 bln to LWMC thus inflicting a mammoth loss of Rs45 bln to provincial exchequer through controversial contracts on hefty paybacks. Back then in 2007, the daily cost of dumping garbage [in Lahore] was just Rs4 mln which augmented to massive Rs40 million in 2018.

Turk conglomerates made Rs40 bln in terms of profit through these controversial, clandestine and illicit contracts while the garbage was neither dumped nor recycled properly.

What adds to the ambiguity of matter is the fact that Shehbaz Sharif-led Punjab govt did not craft standard operating procedures (SOPs) with Turkish companies till 2018.

LWMC failure

The agreement to dispose and recycle garbage was inked with LWMC and its associates at whooping cost of $320 mln which included the collection of garbage, dumping, recycling and disposal. But the company is only collecting garbage till now thus resulting in complete failure.

The Turkish company tampered with the figures pertaining to collection of garbage and by doing so, the conglomerate inflicted a loss of Rs3.5 mln to the provincial exchequer on daily basis. The company showed that it was collecting 7500 tonnes of garbage on daily basis. In reality, the figure never surpassed 5500 tonnes.

Under agreement with Punjab govt, the waste companies were supposed to collect garbage from door-to-door. The provincial govt issued Rs11 bln in this regard to these companies but the process of collecting garbage remained outdoor.

These companies were also bound to produce fertilizer from offal of the food waste. This obligation was never fulfilled; rather a loss of Rs1.5 bln was inflicted on provincial exchequer in this regard. Similarly, not a single megawatt of electricity was created despite spending Rs9 mln.

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