The under construction Timarpur
okhla waste to energy plant.
Delhi: India's first waste-to-energy plant, touted as
an answer to the waste and electricity woes of the capital, will
start operations from July. But people living near the site are up
in arms over the Rs.200 crore project's high environmental and
health costs - something the company denies. The Timarpur Okhla
Municipal Solid Waste Management plant is a private-public
partnership project of the the Jindal ITF Ecoplis and Municipal
Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
The project is spread over a two-acre landfill in Okhla in south
Delhi. About 70 percent of the construction is complete.
Once completed, the plant will produce 16 MW of electricity,
enough to serve six lakh homes, from about 2,050 tonnes of solid
waste, which is 25 percent of the waste generated in Delhi every
However, residents of Jamia Nagar, Okhla, Jasola, Sukhdev Vihar,
New Friends Colony and other nearby areas are worried that the
fumes released through the chimneys will contain poisonous
chemicals, and harm both environment and human health.
Syed Ishrat Hussain Zaidi, a resident of Haji Colony, next to the
plant, says the government should have thought about the health
ramifications of the plant.
"The government should have conducted tests on pollution before
setting up the plant. Human lives are more important than any
factory. We are already suffering due to a bio-gas plant in the
area. There is a foul smell and we can't breathe," added Zaidi.
Farheen Akhtar, a resident of Jasola Vihar, said: "The plant will
convert this densely populated area into a pollution hotbed. The
trucks bringing solid waste to the plant will cause traffic
snarls, and add to air and sound pollution in the area."
The residents had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the
Delhi High Court against the project in 2009. The case will be
Counsel for the residents K.K. Rohatgi said the plant is illegal.
"There is no legality to run this kind of plant in residential
areas. We want the construction of the plant to stop immediately,"
Rohtagi told IANS.
Asif Mohammad Khan, legislator of Okhla constituency, says it was
the job of the environment ministry to look into the project's
"What can I do? I don't know about technicalities related to the
project," said Khan.
But Allard M. Nooy, CEO of Jindal ITF Ecopolis, says the plant
poses no danger to the residents and the environment.
"There is no question of health hazard. We are responsible to the
community as well as our reputation as citizens. To control air
pollution, we have installed the best equipment available in the
world and half the total project amount is being spent to control
pollution," Nooy told IANS.
Nooy says this project is the first commercial waste-to-energy
facility in India, and is similar to projects in countries kile
the US, Britain and France.
"The project is registered with United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for earning carbon credits,"
Following several protests by residents, Environment Minster
Jairam Ramesh had visited the site last month.
He had said it was a difficult choice for him because 70 percent
of the construction work has been completed, but he can only
ensure the best possible technology is used in the factory. He had
also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare a
detailed report on the plant.
According to environmentalists, the project is a hazard not only
for nearby residents but for all residents of Delhi.
"It is a hazard for all residents of Delhi because of pollutant
dioxins. Incinerator plants should not be allowed in any locality
and a biological treatment method should be adopted for waste
management," said Gopal Krishna of Toxic Alliance Watch.
(Abu Zafar can be contacted at