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Lawyer to head green panel on waste-to-energy plant in E Delhi

The Times of India, New Delhi,6th April, 2013

Tags  waste to energy, sarita vihar, National Green  Tribunal, Delhi Pollution control Board

NEW DELHI: The national green tribunal (NGT) has appointed an advocate as local commissioner to carry out inspections at the Sarita Vihar waste-to-energy plant after residents objected to the way in which the tribunal appointed committee had carried out an earlier inspection.

A bench headed by chairman Justice Swatanter Kumar appointed advocate Rahul Chaudhary as local commissioner to visit the plant and report to the court on "the samples of ambient air as well as the stack" to be collected in the presence of the local commissioner, to ensure "that the plant in question is functioning to its optimum capacity —16MW" and to "note as to what was the power production capacity as per the record of the plant for one week immediately following his visit to the plant".

The local commissioner will have the liberty to visit houses around the plant and see if there is any ash in the buildings which can be attributed to the functioning of the plant. "If ash is found, he shall collect the samples and send it for analysis," the court further added.

The tribunal had earlier set up a committee comprising of representatives of Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Board, a representative elected by the residents who filed the PIL, and another one by the respondents. This committee was to take samples from the areas around the plant, especially residential, and submit to the court details on quantity and quality of the ash being generated by the WTE plant.

Giving the committee three weeks to analyse the test results, the court stated that "strangely, it has not been informed to us as to whether any ash was noticed in the surrounding area and in fact the committee did not visit any of the houses of the residents".

It said that a "serious dispute" has arisen over the collection of samples, the procedure for collection, location and the time when the samples were collected. To "avoid any controversy at this stage of arguments" and since time is prayed for submission of the final report", it has asked the local commissioner to carry out another inspection.

Residents had objected to tests being carried out when the plant was not fully operational. Sources said that while officials claimed a full generation of 16MW, online data for the period in which the inspection was carried out showed generation of only 8MW. They also contested the fact that instruments used for monitoring air quality were not calibrated properly. Residents have been protesting against the location of the plant, saying its proximity to a heavily populated area will lead to massive health problems for the residents that live in nearby colonies.

Residents have been protesting against the location of the plant, saying its proximity to a heavily populated area will lead to health problems.