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Delhi High Court to hear mixed municipal waste based Okhla's hazardous power plant case on Jan 15.

Written By Krishna on Monday, January 14, 2013 | 6:11 AM



Press Release

Delhi High Court to hear mixed municipal waste based Okhla's hazardous power plant case on Jan 15.

Subhash Chopra, Congress MLA demands inquiry into Okhla plant in letters to Delhi CM and Lt Governor

Union Environment Minister misled Parliament on Chinese Burn Technology based Okhla power plant, CPCB report reveals    

Vijay Kumar Malhotra, BJP leader expressed concern in his letter to Delhi Lt Governor

Jairam Ramesh as Environment Minister wrote to Delhi CM underlining violation by Jindal's plant 

Congress party led Delhi government and BJP led MCD promoting toxic power plants

New Delhi: January 15, 2013 is a crucial day for the anxiously waiting residents in the colonies of Okhla who have been waiting for Delhi High Court to come to their rescue from a heavily polluting hazardous incinerator technology based power plant since 2009. This power plant is being operated by Delhi's Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Co Pvt Ltd (TOWMCL) of M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited (JUIL), a company of M/s Jindal Saw Group Limited is a controversial carbon trade project that has violated every rule in the rule book.  This Writ Petition (Civil) NO. 9901/2009 was filed by the resident’s welfare association (RWA) of Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla. It is listed a item no. 9.  

On December 27, 2013, Subhash Chopra, a Member of Delhi Legislative Assembly wrote separately to Chief Minister of Delhi and Lt. Governor of Delhi, Tejender Khanna demanding inquiry into the toxic flay ash from the Jindal's large plant. The letters are attached.

Earlier, opposition party leaders of the BJP had also expressed apprehension over the location of such a plant in a densely populated areas of South Delhi.  “This plant would release various types of harmful gases which will certainly pose serious helath threat to the lives of surrounding residents,” said Vijay Kumar Malhotra, BJP M.P. in a letter dated June 27, 2008 to the Lt. Governor of Delhi, Tejender Khanna.  The letter is attached.

The plant faces bitter opposition from residents, waste pickers and environmental groups. Residential colonies of Sukhdev Vihar, New friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, Haji Colony and Ghaffar Manzil have been agitating against this plant that has been set lawlessly. Adjacent to the plant are major institutions such as the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Central Road Research Institute (CRRI),  Apollo Hospital, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and the Holy Family Hospital, besides several schools such as the Dev Samaj Public School.

Even as Delhi High Court is all set to finally case against the Chinese Burn Technology based Okhla power plant on January 15, 2013 it has come to light that contrary to the report of the Central Pollution Control Board, Union Minister for Environment & Forests Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan stated in Rajya Sabha informed the Parliament that “as per the Central pollution Control Board, the technology being used by the Waste-to-Energy plant at Okhla is as specified in the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.” This is far from the truth.

The Environment Minister had informed the Parliament that “complaints were received against the incineration of municipal waste and its likely harmful effects on the air quality and health of people in the Sukhdev Vihar/Okhla area due to the emissions from Waste-to – Energy plant at Okhla.” She admitted that “on four occasions out of ten, levels of Particulate matter (PM) exceeded the standard of 150 mg/Nm3”. She did not reveal anything about the emissions of Dioxins/furans which remains one of the core concerns.

The company claims that “The facility has been installed with a sophisticated Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) supplied by Yokogawa Japan, one of the foremost technology suppliers in this field. The system is designed to measure SO2, NOx, CO2, O2 & HCL at chimney & ID Fan outlet. SO, NOx, CO2 is measured by Infra red principle, O2 is by zirconia cell, HCL is measured by using Gas filter co-relation IR based principle.” While this is being done by the company, what is the role of regulators like Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Central Pollution Control Board.  

A statement on company website reveals that Timarpur Okhla Waste Power Plant “generates 3 MW energy using the municipal solid waste in Delhi”. What it does not reveal is its human and environmental cost.  Her statement issued by Press Information Bureau and the CPCB report is attached.

It is claimed on the company’s website that the waste based power plant is registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “for earning carbon credits.”

The company claims that the land on which the plant is operating “was transferred on lease by Government of Delhi from this 200 acre piece of land that had been earmarked for waste treatment facilities in Delhi's master plan back in 1920's.” The Municipal Solid Waste is being delivered by NDMC and MCD at the Okhla Power Plant site. Although it is claimed that “only non Hazardous Municipal Solid Waste will be treated at the facility”, the fact is Delhi’s mixed municipal waste has characteristics of   hazardous waste.

There have been incessant demonstrations and protest rallies against this project. There is an ongoing campaign against it. The plant that has been built despite protest is 150 m from the residential areas. The area has a bird sanctuary, a university and three hospitals within a radius of 10 kilometres. All will be adversely affected by toxic fumes of the plant. The idea of waste to energy plants which is based on a tried, tested and failed incineration technology in Okhla.

MCD, Delhi government and central government has shown unpardonable callousness towards hazardous emissions from municipal incinerators that cause serious environmental and health problems both to people living near them and thousands of kilometres from the source. These projects are destroying the livelihood of about 3.5 lakh waste recycling workers and valuable resource material for compost that is required to be treated by composting/anaerobic digestion/vermin composting/other biological processing for stabilization as per Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules.

Representatives of GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) led by Dr. Juergen Porst, Senior Advisor have stressed the need for a Disaster Management Plan in the very first meeting of the CPCB'sTechnical Expert Committee, which is annexed to the CPCB'sreport. But this does not find mention in the recommendations of the report. This finds reference in the minutes of the meeting annexed with the report. It underlines the possibility of disaster from the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant, which is situated in a residential area. It is noteworthy that a hazardous plant in Bhopal's residential area that led to world worst industrial disaster in 1984 also did not have any disaster management plan.

The Review of Technical Evaluation by Anant Trivedi, Member, Technical Evaluation Committee, CPCB reads: “The Okhla plant has a capacity of 2050 tpd of domestic waste input. However the plant design allows up to 10,000 tpd of input for incineration. Toxic bottom ash quantity produced will be 20-30% of input. This amounts to at least 410 tpd rising to a maximum of 3,000 tpd. Additionally there will be toxic flyash of about 10% of the bottom ash.None of the landfill sites have the capacity to take in so much toxic waste and mulba has been dumped every where including all public spaces.” He asks, “so what is proposed to safeguard public health from this toxic substance?

The report apprehended that the information that is submitted to the experts committee of CPCB might be used in the on-going case in the Delhi High Court. It makes a shocking revelation that although High
Court has been hearing the case since 2009, the project proponent did not inform the court about gross deviations from the project design plan envisaged in the EIA report. As per the minutes of the second
meeting of the technical experts committee, non-cooperative approach of the senior officials of Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant was condemned on August 11, 2011. Representatives of GTZ underlined that there was lack of transparency with regard to environmental and health impact on the neighborhood residents. It was also noted that the fugitive emissions and the expected emission of Dioxins and Furans has not been quantified. The characteristic of ash and required standards was not mentioned. Prof. T R Sreekrishnan, Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology stated that disposal option for incineration instead of bio-methanation proposed for green waste is in violation of what was mentioned in the EIA report.

In the report, Dr A B Akolkar, Director, CPCB emphasized that as per Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules biodegradable wastes to be treated using biological method rather than deriving RDF or by incineration as is being done by Jindal Ecopolis. This clearly demonstrates that the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant violates the Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules framed under Environment Protection Act, 1986.
In the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 9901 of 2009 in Delhi High Court, legal officials like Mr A S Chandiok Additional Solicitor General and Standing Counsel for the Delhi Government and for the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Najmi Waziri has been misleading and misrepresenting facts about waste to energy plants in Andhra Pradesh by saying that Refuse Derived Fuel incineration technology was already in use at Hyderabad and Vijayawada. The fact is that there is no plant in Hyderabad. The plant that became functional as per legal officials now stands defunct is in Shadnagar, Mahboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh.

On 18th July, 2011, Delhi High Court asked CPCB and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to conduct a joint inquiry about India’s first waste-to-energy plant and file a report on the allegations that it posed health risks to citizens. “A joint report be submitted by the DPCC and the CPCB after an inquiry of the site of the energy plant about the alleged risks posed to citizens,” ordered a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Delhi High Court. This has not been done so far. A bizarre situation has emerged because the arguments for Refuse Derived Fuel incineration technology that was advanced by the law officers is no more relevant because the plant is using an experimental Chinese  technology which was never ever mentioned at the time of submitting the project proposal.
The 31 page report of the Union Environment & Forests Ministry constituted Technical Experts Evaluation Committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant has condemned the Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator Plant by JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal Ecopolis) has violated every rule in the rule book including environmental clearance conditions. It revealed to the Experts Committee in September 2011 that it is using untested and unapproved Chinese incinerator technology in complete violation all laws and environmental clearance of 2007 including its own project design document and environment impact assessment report. Chinese technology provider is from Hangzhou New Century Company Ltd of Hangzhou Boiler Group.

Unmindful of grave public health and environmental concerns both Congress party led Delhi government and BJP led MCD are promoting such toxic power plants which emit chemicals like Dioxins which were used in US-vietnam war. The letter of Jairam Ramesh to Delhi CM is attached.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb:08002263335,
9818089660, Email: krishna1715@gmail.com, Web:toxicswatch.blogspot.com
Vimal Monga, President, Sukhdev Vihar , 9711408421
Asha Arora, Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee -  9810499277
Okhla Anti-incinerator Committee, http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/ghoslaokhla
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