THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) has withdrawn from the Rs 200-crore wasteto- energy project at Okhla in south Delhi. The bank had promised about Rs 10 crore to the plant under the Asia Pacific Carbon Fund. ADB has not specified any reason for withdrawing from the project.
Residents of Sukhdev Vihar, Haji Colony and Gaffar Manzil have been protesting against the 16-MW power plant as the project would adversely affect people’s health (‘Waste to- energy plant raises stink’, Down To Earth web special, July 22, 2010). The plant, being built by Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Company private limited (TOWMCL), is 150 m from the residential areas.
Ranjeet Deobraj, a resident of Sukhdev Vihar, said, “Ever since ADB withdrew the funds and the residents registered their protest in the media, the company has started building the plant at a greater speed.” Of the eight storeys, four are complete. The plant is slated to be operational in July 2011, after which it will receive 350 truck loads of garbage for burning every day. The area has a bird sanctuary, a university and three hospitals within a radius of 10 kilometres. All will be affected by toxic fumes of the plant, Deobraj added.
The residents, on December 10, 2010, wrote to the bank registering their opposition to the project. They wanted to know why ADB was funding a project which would be a health disaster. In an email reply, ADB external relations officer Usha Tankha wrote: “Asia Pacific Carbon Fund is no longer associated with TOWMCL integrated waste-toenergy project in Delhi and no funds were released to this project.” Apart from refusing co-finance, the bank has also decided to stop providing technical assistance to the project. TOWMCL officials were not available for comments.
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