The National Green Tribunal has directed an inspection team headed by the Central Pollution Control Board to inform it about the mechanism of e-waste collection and transport at the premises of power distribution companies in New Delhi.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the committee, which was formed to inspect the power distribution companies, to state whether electronic waste from their premises have been removed. During the hearing, the joint committee filed the inspection report which said that in most of the premises of discoms, e-waste was not found stored anywhere except the premises of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) at Mangolpuri in New Delhi.
“Hazardous waste was found stored without obtaining authorisation under Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules (HOWM), 2016. However, applications for authorisation under HOWM Rules 2016 have been filed by BSES Yamuna Power Limited and BSES Rajdhani Power Limited for all the locations wherever there is generation and storage of hazardous waste is there,” the report said.
The report also said that discoms are required to obtain permission from the competent authority for extraction of ground water and submitted that inadequate fire safety arrangements were found at all the premises.
The NGT was hearing a plea filed by Delhi resident Balbir Singh, also general secretary of DESU Mazdoor Sangh, alleging violation of e-waste rules by the power distribution companies and seeking directions on the disposal of all hazardous material from their premises.
Advocate Siddhartha Singh, appearing for the petitioner, raised serious doubts about the findings of the panel and alleged that e-waste was transported much before the inspection by the committee, which also comprised Delhi Pollution Control Committee officials.
The plea had claimed that air conditioners, water coolers, refrigerators and other electrical equipment, including PVC cables, were being dumped in the grid sub- stations and in open places of their offices, which are not meant for disposal of such e-waste. It had claimed that the power companies were also violating the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by illegally extracting ground water on a very large scale as regular the Delhi Jal Board connections have been closed and around 90 per cent of their sites were illegally extracting millions of gallons ground water for commercial purposes.
The petition dealt with several premises including 66 KV grid sub-stations at I P Extension, Dilshad Garden, Sonia Vihar, Patparganj Industrial Area, Punjabi Bagh, Sriniwaspuri and Okhla.