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Chandigarh Garbage disposal plant mired in controversy

Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, February 23, 2009 | 9:35 PM

Note: The article, despite its clear anti-poor bias, makes it very clear that the incinerator is in conflict with recycling systems. It blames the wastepickers for recycling materials which the incinerator needs to burn, in order to maintain a high calorific value of the waste. Instead, the writers should have asked why a facility was built which is inappropriate for the post-wastepicker stream. In fact, the answer to that question is: because then we wouldn't need an incinerator. Composting would be a much better solution for the wet, organic waste. Instead, the plant has imported expensive machinery (and no doubt, very energy-intensive machinery) to dry the food waste so that it will burn. Ridiculous!

Neil Tangri

Garbage disposal plant mired in controversy

The country’s first of its kind garbage-disposal plant turning waste into fluffs for cement plants appears to be struggling to run to its potential, courtesy moisture level and inadequate quantity of the raw material. But, authorities associated with the project countering the allegations say it is operating as per the requirements.

Rag pickers take away the quality waste leaving high-moisture content green waste requiring a special machine to be imported from Germany at a very heavy cost to handle the situation, coordinator of the private company attached with the plant, PP Sinha told TOI during a visit to the facility.

This is the first plant in the country that has a machine to dry the waste unlike in Hyderabad. The culprits are rag-pickers and to an extent caretakers at the sahaj safai kendras who fail to guard the waste for the company to use, he added.

Already facing rag pickers’ onslaught, the plant has also not been able to win the hearts of councillors who even allege that it has not been functioning regularly and not making pellets since its inauguration in May 21, 2008, when Congress councillors boycotted the ceremony due to political reasons.

Admitting that the company has not yet been able to make pallets as its cement plant in Himachal Pradesh has not yet been operational, Sinha said according to the agreement, the company is making fluffs and supplying it to a different private cement plant in Ropar.

Sinha further said, “According to the MOU, our stipulated period of completion of project was December 2008 but we could start operations in May itself ahead of the schedule. Only the dryer, a new component considering conditions unlike in Germany, was brought in January this year.”

The plant is now accepting 150-200 tons garbage and producing 30 ton Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). He further said, “In coming three to four months, we would collect the entire garbage generated in the city that is around 350 to 400 tons per day and produce around 60 tons RDF per day.”

Meanwhile, though a few senior councillors have recorded their appreciation for the project in the comments books kept at the site, they, however, accuse the company and municipal officials of colluding to let the company have its way.

Brushing aside these accusations, Brig RS Sahota, vice president of company and unit in-charge of this plant, said, “We are doing everything in a fair way and the administration is constantly visiting the plant. Besides, a special monitoring committee having the officials of the UT administration’s environment wing and that of the MC has been constantly monitoring the plant and is satisfied with its functioning.”

Echoing his statements, commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said, “The plant is accepting around 200 tons garbage per day and everything is going in the right way.”

Deepak Yadav
19 Feb 2009
The Times of India
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