NEW DELHI: A report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the Okhla-Timarpur waste-to-energy plant has found several issues of concern, starting with a deviation in technology on the basis of which the environment impact assessment was carried out. The existing technology is a simplified version of what had been mentioned in the project report, leading to questions on the efficiency of the system.
CPCB also issued a list of conditions that should be fulfilled by project proponent Jindal Ecopolis, on the basis of which they were to be granted a provisional consent to operate. The report is with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), and also Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), but sources in Jindal say nothing has been communicated to them so far.
In January 2012, responding to a ToI report on complaints of rise in pollution after the plant started operation, chief minister Sheila Dikshit had asked DPCC to set up a committee to solve the problem. Sources say the committee has not met so far. "We are not aware of any such direction but DPCC is regularly monitoring air pollution and we are satisfied that everything is in order. A second three-month-long provisional consent to operate has been issued to the plan. During this time we will be carrying out fortnightly tests," said Sandeep Mishra, member secretary, DPCC.
Sources in Jindal added that, without a formal communication on the said report, they were working as per norms. "Full production has started in the plant and everything is working well," said a source.
However, CPCB's report claims that all is not well and Delhi government needs to impose strict control over the project so that it does not pollute. "There is a list of about 25 conditions that were to be ensured, especially since the plant has deviated from the technology outlined in the detailed project report. No study has been carried out on the efficiency of the system finally used under Indian conditions," said the source.
Officials said that while the plant is expected to function properly under "normal" conditions, barely any provisions had been made for forced shutdowns. "Water used in the plant will be treated but no arrangement has been made for its storage or disposal. It is the state government's responsibility to ensure that such issues are addressed before the plant starts functioning, especially since it is in the middle of a residential area," said a source in MoEF.