New Delhi, Mar 31, (PTI): Criticising the green signal given to a waste-to-energy plant in Okhla in the capital, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh today ordered the CPCB to conduct a ''thorough technical evaluation'' of pollution caused by it.
Ramesh, who visited site today following protests by the residents, asked Central Pollution Control Board Chairman S P Gautam to submit an assessment report in one month on "how the concerns of the local community can be met."
"I have asked the chairman of the CPCB to do a thorough technical evaluation of what pollution caused by this plant and how the concerns of the local community can be met. I have given him one month's time. He will start the work tomorrow," the Minister said.
The CPCB chairman will do the analysis with the help of experts from IIT Kanpur. Citing several flaws in the environmental clearance awarded to the project in 2007, Ramesh said only today he could discover that a public hearing of the project had taken place without any public being present. It was also not held at the project site.
"That is not acceptable," said Ramesh, who became Environment Minister in 2009. The Minister said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, which was supposed to be made public, was never made public. "Technically it is another violation," he told reporters.
The Minister also cited violation of rules in changing environmental clearance by the company, which secured it, for undertaking the project. The clearance was given to a company called ILFS, who was the project promoter, and the project is now being promoted by a company called Jindal ITF Ecopolis.
"Technically, whenever the environmental clearance that company changes, they should come back to the Ministry for the change of the Environmental Clearance. They haven't done that," Ramesh said.
Admitting that the plant could not be re-located now as 70 per cent of the project has been completed to convert 1,000 tonnes of solid waste into electricity, the Minister said, "We can build a green belt. We can build a green cover. We can take some more safeguards."
The trial runs of the plant, located in the sewage treatment plant complex where 300 hundred additional trucks will dump the waste to convert as energy, are expected to begin July this year. The Minister also said that Delhi produces 8,000 tonnes of solid waste every day and it does not have adequate sites for municipal solid waste disposal.