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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

‘Waste plant threatening Okhla bird sanctuary’

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 05, 2013
First Published: 23:11 IST(5/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(6/7/2013)

The waste-to-energy plant at Okhla, found causing pollution in Sukhdev Vihar, has also been blamed for threatening the ecosystem of Okhla bird sanctuary.

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The National Green Tribunal on Friday admitted for hearing a petition which has demanded the Uttar Pradesh government be made party to an earlier petition seeking closure of the plant. The sanctuary at Noida in Gautam Budh Nagar district comes under the UP government’s jurisdiction.

A group of residents in Sukhdev Vihar who had filed both the petitions alleged emission from the plant is hazardous for the sanctuary and, thus, the ongoing cases should be dealt as an inter-state matter. 

Gautam Budh Nagar district forest officer B Prabhakar has already conducted an inspection and written to the UP government that the distance between the plant and the sanctuary is 2 km. Residents of Sukhdev Vihar had earlier approached the UP chief secretary seeking his intervention.

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The sanctuary — spread over an area of 3.5 sqkm on the Yamuna on the Delhi-Noida border — has been a haven for waterbirds and a favourite among birdwatchers with more than 300 species spotted so far.

Petitioners’ lawyer KK Rohtagi said, “We also filed a third petition, again seeking closure of the plant, because the Delhi government has in its reports filed before the tribunal concealed the actual quantum of the emission of highly polluting substances from the plant.” All the petitions will now be heard on July 22.

Residents of Sukhdev Vihar first approached the Delhi High Court in 2009 and sought the plant’s closure, saying it burns waste and releases harmful ‘dioxins’ into the air. In January 2013, the court transferred the case to the tribunal.

Since then some of the reports filed by pollution control agencies on the orders of the tribunal have found pollutants at the plant beyond the permissible limits. The tribunal has asked the firm running the plant to consider setting up a segregation plant and state the steps it proposes to take to control pollution.

The tribunal has also asked the Union ministry of environment and forests and the Central Pollution Control Board to suggest measures required to be taken.


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