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Okhla colonies turning into toxic gas chamber due to Jindal’s waste incinerator

Written By Gopal Krishna on Saturday, February 22, 2014 | 3:10 AM


ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

To

Shri Najeeb Jung
Hon’ble Lt. Governor
National Capital Territory of Delhi
Raj Niwas
Delhi

Date: 22 February, 2014

Through Smt. Nutan Guha Biswas Principal Secretary to Lt Governor

Subject-Okhla colonies turning into toxic gas chamber due to Jindal’s waste incinerator based power plant, photographs of Feb 21, 2014 attached

Sir,

This is to draw your urgent attention towards the fact that colonies in Okhla are turning into toxic gas chamber due to the Okhla Waste to Energy Incinerator plant by JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal Ecopolis) that has violated every rule in the rule book. A polluting waste to energy plant in the residential area ignores the experience of Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster.
We submit that the plant 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. The power plant in question has been set up by M/s Jindal Urban Infrastructure Limited (JUIL), a company of M/s Jindal Saw Group Limited owned by Prithviraj Jindal. Jindal’s waste incinerator based power plant.
We submit that in a letter to Shri J.S.Kamyotra, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Dr U C Bahri, a member of Okhla Anti Incinerator Committee (OAIC) wrote, “Living in Sukhdev Vihar and adjacent colonies is becoming impossible. Okhla WTE plant keeps on releasing smoke along with bad smell. we expect a strong action Photographs taken today dt 21-02-2014 attached.”
We submit that in another letter dated February 21 sent to Registrar, National Green Tribunal, Advocate Rakesh Kumar wrote, “Every day the Okhla Waste to Energy Plant rains on the residents of Sukhdev Vihar toxic ash with unbearable, nauseating and headache causing polluted air. Today it is particularly bad. Since yesterday night, in every single breathe there is burning smell. We have been completely deprived of our right to clean air. Entreat you on behalf of all the residents to protect us from being gassed in this inhuman manner.”   

We are confident that in face of wanton greed of the JITF Urban Infrastructure Limited (Jindal Ecopolis) for profit at any human cost, you will protect the health of the present and future generation of residents of Delhi’s Okhla.    
We wish to place on record the damning fact that the environmental clearance to this project was given when Mr A Raja was the Union Minister for Environment & Forests ignoring the protests of environmental groups, residents and waste recycling workers.
We wish to inform you that your office was informed about this impending public health crisis in January 2011 as well when a rally was held and its delegation submitted the memorandum seeking closure of the plant in question.
We submit that this plant is releasing war chemicals like dioxins and furans, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which United State used in Vietnam War under the brand name Agent Orange. It may be noted that POPs is regulated by UN laws Stockholm Convention on POPs that lists incinerators as emitters of POPs like Dioxins. 
We submit that the Grievances against the Jindal’s municipal waste incinerator and biomedical waste incinerator have been registered with Grievance No: 2014747 and 20142534 at Delhi Chief Minister's office and the Delhi Environment Minister had initiated steps to deal with the problem.
We submit that air pollutants are passengers without passports. Okhla colonies which are getting engulfed from the dust and pollution from the plant include New Friends Colony, Maharani Bagh, Ishwar Nagar, Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Nagar, Jasola Vihar and Sarita Vihar Jamia Millia Islamia university, Holy Family hospital and several other colonies and institutions. While the Supreme Court has only allowed pilot projects using the technology to be set up in India, the Okhla plant is in violation of the court’s order as has been revealed through RTI replies.
We urge you to take cognizance of the sad plight at waste to energy site in Gandhamguda village in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh which had the same technology. While the incinerator was in operation, the village was covered by a heavy shroud of dark smoke. After the plant came up, local doctors started detecting case of problems not found before— skin rashes, asthma, respiratory problems and some cases of stillborns. In a statement, Gandhamguda sarpanch Smt D. Shakuntala said: ‘‘Everyone in Peerancheru Gram Panchayat and its adjoining regions is now contaminated with harmful pollutants and symptoms are visible in the form of brain fever, vomiting, jaundice, asthma, miscarriages, infertility.’’ Similar fate awaits residents of Delhi. It would not be appropriate to turn Delhi residents as guinea pigs for experimental and unapproved Chinese incinerator technology.
We submit that unmindful of the public protest, New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) had permitted Jindal Ecopolis to set up this plant. This will distort capital city’s waste management beyond repair. The NDMC signed an MOU with M/s ILFS in August 2005 (Council Resolution No 6(W-1), Dated 26/8/05) for setting up a project for complete utilization of solid waste. The project was ambiguously as Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for Development of an Integrated Waste Treatment Complex at Okhla Compost Plant site. Till April 2005, Timarpur Waste Management Company Limited (TWMCL), a special purpose  vehicle of ILFS was to undertake the task. To begin with TWMCL entered into a 25-year concession agreement with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the New Delhi Municipal Council under a PPP framework to set up a 650 tons-per-day (TPD) Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) processing facility, a 50 TPD bio-methanation plant, a 6 MW power plant, and a 6 million gallons per day (MGD) sewage treatment plant at a total cost of Rs. 591.27 million (US$ 13.13 million). Later, Unique Waste Processing Company, a subsidiary of Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and Andhra Pradesh Technology Development Centre (APTDC) has incorporated Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Company for developing the project for processing municipal waste and also to produce electricity at two locations namely Timarpur and Okhla, at the site at Okhla that is adjacent to defunct Okhla Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The TIMARPUR-OKHLA Waste Management Company Private Limited of ILFS transferred the task to Jindal Ecopolis after environmental clearance process was undertaken by ILFS. Since then both MoU and environmental clearance has been amended several times seemingly to corner subsidy of Rs 1.5 crore/ MW for waste to energy projects from the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in contempt of Supreme Court’s order of 2005 ad 2007 in the Writ Petition (Civil) 888 of 1996. The next date of hearing is on April 22, 2014 in which a “Contempt Petition” is pending.   
We submit that in the presence of A.S. Chandihok, Additional Solicitor General, the bench headed by the Chief Justice, Delhi High Court in an order dated 15th January, 2010 observed, “that the project in question” and “the location of the pilot project in Delhi was neither recommended by the Expert Committee nor approved by the Supreme Court.”
We submit that the Timarpur-Okhla carbon credit project was registered on 10th November, 2007 although it is a green house emitting waste incineration project.
We submit that this project has met with protest rallies from the residents of Okhla. Waste incineration systems (including waste pelletisation, pyrolysis and gasification systems) produce pollutants, which are detrimental to health & environment. It is expensive and does not eliminate or adequately control the toxic emissions from today's chemically complex municipal discards. Even new incinerators release toxic metals, dioxins, and acid gases. Far from eliminating the need for a landfill, waste incinerator systems produce toxic ash and other residues. Such projects disperse incinerator ash throughout the environment and subsequently enter our food chain. It prohibits the development of local waste recycling-based businesses.
We submit that the plant is functioning contrary to national legislations and norms such as Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, 2000 because according to these Rules it is illegal to incinerate chlorinated plastics (like PVC) and wastes chemically treated with any chlorinated disinfectant and recommendations of the Supreme Court constituted committee on waste management.
We submit that this toxic plant sets a very bad precedent for other cities as well. It has given birth to serious concerns about the health and safety of the citizens.
In view of these grave concerns, we request you to direct the concerned authorities to take preventive steps in order to save Delhi's Okhla residents and the bird sanctuary from highly polluting plant in residential areas by closing this plant at the earliest before it is too late.
Thanking You

Yours Sincerely
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
First Floor,
124A/6, Katwaria Sarai,
New Delhi- 110016
Tel:91-11-65663958
Fax: 91-11-26517814
Mb: 9818089660
Cc
Ms. Sarita Chaudhary, Mayor, South Delhi Municipal Corporation
Shri Manish Gupta, Commissioner, South Delhi Municipal Corporation
Shri Jalaj Shrivastava, Chairperson, New Delhi Municipal Council
Shri Vikas Anand, Secretary, New Delhi Municipal Council
Dr. Harsh Vardhan, State President, Delhi State, Bhartiya Janta Party
Shri Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party
Shri Arvinder Singh Lovely, President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC)
Smt. Swati Sharma, Additional Secretary to LG
Shri R. N. Sharma, Additional Secretary to LG
Shri Ajay Chaudhary, OSD to LG
Shri Vishwendra, Private Secretary to LG
Shri. Sumanta Chakraborty, Deputy Secretary (Administration) 
Chairperson, Association of Municipalities and Development Authorities (AMDA), Delhi

 

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