Residents of Okhla, Sukhdev Vihar and Jamia Nagar are on a mission to stop the Jindal waste plant from expanding its operations in Delhi increasing its power from 16 MW to 40 MW. The plant already has two chimneys and the process of construction of a third one is underway. The waste burning plant is being termed as an environment hazard by the residents who are currently mobilising more support and demanding a complete shutdown. Locals have been complaining that the sewage overflows to Jamia Nagar, making the plant a health hazard. The plant was set up by the Congress despite strong opposition from the residents.
A public hearing was scheduled to take place on January 16 over the issue. However, it was later cancelled following protests from the residents. Speaking with NewsClick, a resident Abdul Raseed Agwan, said, “The Delhi Pollution Control Committee had instructed the Delhi magistrate to ensure that a public hearing takes place. However, the process was riddled with multiple problems. First, it was not conducted in the proximity of the plant, as mandated by the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) guidelines in such cases. The plant is close to Jamia Nagar, but, the public hearing was set to take place approximately 6 kms away. This was done in an attempt to ensure that not many people participate in the public hearing. In addition, the advertisement for the public hearing was carried in only two English newspapers, even though majority of the people in the area read Hindi or Urdu newspapers, thereby limiting access to the news of the hearing.”
Residents have alleged that a gross violation of the stated norms is taking place, making the plant a major environmental as well as a health hazard. Agwan added, “The sewage overflows and the waste are not properly treated, instead it is just dumped in a landfill, which is leading to major soil, air and water pollution.” The residents also explained that the Jindal group had previously assured them that the environmental degradation caused by the plant will be taken care of. But no trees have been planted and no water treatment methods have been employed in the plant, increasing the adverse impact.
For now, the public hearing has been postponed until further notice due to the efforts of the residents. The residents are currently mobilising and creating awareness in the region to build pressure on the Jindal group through municipality level protests.