RWA writes to LG over proposal for expansion of Okhla WTE plant
Residents of Sukhdev Vihar have written a letter to LG VK Saxena, expressing their concern over the proposal to expand Okhla waste-to-energy (WTE) plant.
Local residents, who have been opposing the plant for more than 12 years, strongly feel that it should not be located in the middle of residential areas and institutions, including three major hospitals.
A legal battle is also going on. The letter was written by the Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association (RWA) after news surfaced that the LG last week directed officials to increase the garbage consumption at the plant by another 1,000 metric tonnes which would also result in an additional 17 MW power production.
The RWA said: “We welcome your direction to expedite the completion of the WTE plant at Tehkhand, Tughlaqabad… MSW rules require WTE plants to be integral to a landfill and there is no landfill at Sukhdev Vihar. The nearest landfill is at Tughlakabad, the site of the new WTE plant.”
“This underlines the constant hazard of toxic emissions to nearby residential areas and institutions, including three major hospitals,” RWA president U K Bharadwaj said.
Ranjit Devraj, resident of Sukhdev Vihar, said it is a “red category” (highly polluting) plant and should not have been there in the first place, forget about its expansion.
“The plant should have been at least 500 metres away from residential areas… also, it is located in a green area in violation of the Delhi Master Plan 2021,” he said.
In the letter the RWA wrote: “With reference to …June 3 report on your visit to the WtE plant near Sukhdev Vihar, Okhla, that burns 1,950 tonnes of MSW daily, we beg leave to apprise you of serious facts concerning the health and safety of nearby residential areas and institutions.
In this context, we the residents of the neighboring areas draw your attention to the order of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change capping MSW input at 1,950 tonnes while allowing power generation to be increased from 16 MW to the present 23 MW.
“Any further expansion beyond 23 MW Power Generation Capacity shall not be permitted at the same site considering the proximity of Sukhdev Vihar residential colony located at less than100 meters from the site,” the Ministry said.
“We welcome your direction to expedite completion of the WtEplant at Tehkhand, Tughlaqabad,as consonant with the Ministry’s order. MSW rules require WtE plants to be integral to a landfill and there is no landfill at Sukhdev Vihar. The nearest landfill is at Tughlaqabad, the site of the new WtEplant. The wrongful location issue is currently pending in an appeal before the Supreme Court,” said the RWA in the letter.
Last year, the plant at Sukhdev Vihar was fined for excess emission of dioxins, furans and PM2.5, by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, it wrote.