New Delhi: Residents of the Okhla area of the capital have have written to the Union Forest and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan complaining that the waste-based thermal power plant set up within the Okhla Bird Sanctuary and Wildlife Park is inimical to the ecology of the area and a health hazard for the residents of the localities nearby, according to a report in The Hindu.
There has been a strident call for the closure, atb least relocation of the power plant operated by the Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited (JUIL) within the eco-sensitive zone.
The residents have noted that the plant is not only situated in the proximity of residential areas like New Friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, Sukhdev Vihar and the business district of Nehru Place, but also several prominent institutions, including Apollo, Escorts and Holy Family hospitals and Jamia Milia Islamia University.
Indeed a waste-based plant is an immense threat to health, when there is a hospital nearby, here we are talking about three prominent hospitals of the city located near the plant.
The plant has been facing a case from the Sukhdev Vihar Residents’ Welfare Association in the National Green Tribunal and moreover, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has a White Paper available on its website which is against such thermal treatment of waste to generate energy, as revealed by environmental activist Gopal Krishna of the ToxicsWatch Alliance, who has ben campaigning against the plant since March 2005.
The plant, which essentially is polluting in nature, has been using unapproved Chinese technology, giving a short shrift to the ecological fragility and sensitivity of the area.
Located within 2 Km of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, the plant does not have the mandatory clearances from the National Board for Wildlife and if one goes by the guidelines of the MoEF in this regard, there is a clear-cut prohibition against the setting up of industries that cause pollution of any sort.
Speaking about the plant’s location, a resident noted that the location of the plant in an eco-sensitive zone, which is a protected area of Uttar Pradesh abuts the boundary of Delhi.
This attracts the Ministry guideline that where the boundary of a protected area abuts the boundary of another state or union territory where it does not form part of any protected area, it shall be the endeavour of both state and the union territory governments to have mutual consultation and decide upon the width of the eco-sensitive zone around the protected area in question.
However this has not been done in the case of the power plant in question.
The residents also pointed out in their letter that the disaster in Uttarakhand is being cited as the result of opposition to the proposed eco-sensitive zone in that state by vested interests and urged the government to ensure that similar gross eco-sensitive zone violations that could lead to another man-made disaster does not happen, especially in the national capital and within 10 km of the country's Parliament.
For the original report go here