Locals rally against Delhi’s Okhla waste plant, threaten poll boycott

Local residents, including children, from Sukhdev Vihar, Jasola, New Friends Colony, Sarita Vihar, Haji Colony, Ishwar Nagar and Ghaffar Manzil, gathered near New Friends Colony(NFC) and took out the rally. They rallied down Mathura Road, shouting slogans and carrying placards and posters.
School students hold placards to demand the removal of the Okhla Waste to Energy plant from residential areas during a peaceful march, at Friends Colony, Mathura Road, in New Delhi.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
School students hold placards to demand the removal of the Okhla Waste to Energy plant from residential areas during a peaceful march, at Friends Colony, Mathura Road, in New Delhi.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Published on Mar 24, 2019 03:00 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Nearly 3,000 residents of Jasola, Sukhdev Vihar, New Friends Colony and adjoining neighbourhoods in south Delhi held a rally on Saturday morning, demanding that the waste-to-energy(WTE) plant at Okhla be either shut down or shifted away from residential areas.

Some even said that they would boycott the coming polls if their demands were not met.

Locals said the incinerator was not just triggering pollution but was located dangerously near residential areas, just around 45 metre. “We have been demanding that the plant be either shifted or shut down as it was not just triggering heavy pollution but was close to residential areas. In the case of an explosion, it would be a disaster. A hearing is also going on in Supreme Court. But amid all this, the authorities have proposed to expand the plant and have already added a chimney,” said S Khan, president, Sukhdev Vihar SFS (Pocket A) RWA.

Senior general manager of the plant, Sandip Dutta, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts and the plant’s landline went unanswered. Senior officials of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee refused to comment, saying the case was being heard in Supreme Court.

“I have told my officers to get the emissions of the WTE plant checked on Monday. If we find it violates the standards, we will take action accordingly,” said Narendra Chawla, mayor, South Municipal Corporation of Delhi .

Local residents, including children, from Sukhdev Vihar, Jasola, New Friends Colony, Sarita Vihar, Haji Colony, Ishwar Nagar and Ghaffar Manzil, gathered near New Friends Colony(NFC) and took out the rally. They rallied down Mathura Road, shouting slogans and carrying placards and posters.

“Delhi collects around 10,500 tonnes of waste daily, out of which 80% goes to three WTEs, including the one at Okhla. But not more than 10% of the waste is deemed fit for incineration. These plants burn almost anything, including plastic and other recyclables, violating Solid Waste Management Rules 2016,” said Swati Singh Sambyal, programme manager, environmental governance (Municipal Solid Waste) at Centre for Science and Environment.

Residents said they had demanded a public hearing before the plant could take up any expansion plans. “ A public hearing was scheduled to be held in the district magistrate’s office on January 16, which we opposed. Since then, no hearing has been held,” said Ranjit Devraj, a resident of Sukhdev Vihar, who is also a member of the Supreme Court-appointed committee on waste management.

Some residents said they would boycott Lok Sabha polls to get authorities’ attention. “We have been running from pillar to post to get the plant shifted . Boycotting polls could be the only solution it seems,” said Geeta Chopra, a doctor.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022