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Okhla residents cry foul; Demand closure of plant

Okhla residents have continued to wage their war against Timarpur-Okhla Waste to Energy (WTE) plant located in a residential area. Residents and environmentalists for years have been peacefully protesting for its closure claiming that the plant throws foul smell and dispersing brown ash in the air.

In their move to yield positive results they have approached politicians, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too, but with little impact. Some residents of Sukhdev Vihar had event met the CM after he came to power. And as the odd-even scheme is being implemented to curb pollution in Delhi, the issue once again has been at the centre stage with residents launching their peaceful agitation with the hope that somebody would act on their plea.

According to India Today report, the London-based laboratory of an international NGO, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), has tested it positive for lead, mercury and cadmium – all fatal toxic elements.

Even doctors of hospitals like Fortis Escorts Heart Institute have written to the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) about the plant. It is another story that an official at WTE has refuted these allegations.

“We have passed all tests by government agencies so far. The case is subjudice and let the courts do their job. If our plant were not processing 2,000 tonnes of trash per day, the Okhla landfill site would have been burning like Ghazipur and Bhalswa. South Delhi is safe because of us today, he told India Today.

But residents are not convinced and claimed that the plant is not good for the health of residents.

Resident and expert Ranjit Devraj said: “We are all guinea pigs for businessmen, scientists and the courts. First, our PIL was heard in the Delhi High Court for four years. Then in January 2013, it was moved to the National Green Tribunal. Since then, the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Shriram Test House, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and Jawaharlal Nehru University have conducted tests on the air quality here. GAIA lab said it is so bad that ‘had it been London, they would have ordered an evacuation already.”

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