By Evie Andreou
THE Vati biogas production plant agreement signed on Wednesday is illegal, Interior minister Socratis Hasikos said in a stern letter sent to Limassol’s mayor Andreas Christou on Friday, saying the deal should be cancelled.
Hasikos wants Christou to terminate the agreement with a private contractor to build a plant that would process rubbish collected by the municipality to create biogas.
The minister’s letter suggested that beyond the principle of the whole affair, as Christou failed to inform the ministry of the municipality’s intentions, the agreement also lacks legitimacy.
The letter stated that the Vati dumpster is government property and that there is no contractual relationship between Limassol municipality and the government for the use of the property. Furthermore, long lasting contracts must be approved by the Interior ministry before they are signed, the letter said.
The minister pointed out that the municipality’s actions are not aligned with the Cabinet’s decisions and the government’s policy on waste management, adding that the way the terms of the relevant bid were prepared also raises questions.
The build-operate-transfer (BOT) agreement the municipality signed with Helector Cyprus provided that the company would build and operate the plant for ten years until their investment and other expenses are recovered.
The unit would have the capacity to produce 1.5 to 2 megawatts (MW) and the municipality would receive 15.25 per cent on the gross income from the sale of energy translating to an estimated annual income of €250,000 for Limassol.
It was estimated that the plant would be ready to utilise biogas created by the Vati dumpster within two years.
“It is the first such project that will operate in Cyprus and except from the municipality’s financial benefits, it will contribute to the state’s efforts to meet one of its national goals which is the reduction of gas emissions in the atmosphere,” Christou had said on Wednesday.