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Concerns over Sukhdev Vihar plant baseless,model a success across the world: Govt to HC

The Delhi government has filed a detailed counter to the PIL by Sukhdev Vihar residents who had claimed that the construction of a waste-to-energy plant in the locality will damage the environment.

Waste-to-energy plant z Residents of colony filed PIL in HC claiming that the plant was too close and posed an environment threat

The Delhi government has filed a detailed counter to the PIL by Sukhdev Vihar residents who had claimed that the construction of a waste-to-energy plant in the locality will damage the environment.

Calling the project a “potential answer to city’s waste disposal problem”,Delhi government’s Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri told the Delhi High Court that similar models are running successfully in other countries.

The PIL was filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents’ Welfare Association in 2009.

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The government,in its reply,has listed reasons why the court should give its approval for the construction of the Rs 200-crore project in Okhla. The plant is expected to treat more than 1,000 tonnes of solid waste,converting it into electricity.

Waziri also presented several photographs of similar plants operating in other countries,along with related charts and graphs on the estimated emission from the proposed plant. The counsel presented examples from Japan,Denmark,US,France,Sweden,Italy,etc.

He told the Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that any reservations regarding the proximity of the proposed plant to densely populated residential areas or hospitals are “unfounded and baseless”.

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“Over 800 such waste to energy plants are in operation worldwide. A large number of them are located,literally,in the heart of thriving cities and have been functioning ever since without any complaints or proof about adverse effects health on the people and surrounding environment,” the note presented by the government read.

The government has also drawn a parallel between Delhi and Japan,considering the topographical match of the two cities and paucity of space in them.

“Delhi has the additional challenge of an ever-increasing population,leading to a further increase in waste generation. It is estimated that by 2020 Delhi’s municipal waste generation will be about 18,000 mt/day from 8,000 mt/day today. Both Japan and Delhi cannot ship out their municipal solid waste (MSW) and must find solutions to dispose of the same in the most effective and environment-friendly way,” the note added.

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Pitching for the technology to be used in the plant,the government claimed that the Refuse Derived Fuel incineration technology was already in use at Hyderabad and Vijayawada and it had been approved by the Department of Science and Technology.

The government also denied any instance of violation of the municipal rules,regarding management and handling of municipal solid waste. It argued that a decision to set up an integrated waste processing project at a suitable location was taken after due deliberations with the representatives of various departments of the Delhi government.

It said that for over three decades,the land in question has been earmarked and used for disposal of municipal solid waste. As per allotment of the land by the DDA to the NDMC,first an area of 8.5 acre was given in 1980 and subsequently an additional five acre was handed over for a compost plant in 1995.

Residents,in their PIL,had argued that while they are not against the idea behind the project,their concern is the proximity of the plant to their colony. They had also submitted a memorandum to Minister of Environment and Forests and held demonstrations demanding that further construction of the plant be stopped immediately.

First published on: 15-07-2011 at 02:17 IST
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