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Delhiites force cancellation of public hearing for waste-to-energy plant in a densely-populated area

By Our Representative
In what is being described as a victory in a big war against pollution in Delhi, people of the south-western district of Delhi have forced a scheduled public hearing for expanding a "waste-to-energy" power plant from 16 MW to 40 MW. The Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCB) and the District Magistrate faced such a situation for the first time, says a civil society statement following the cancellation.
The major reason for people from different societies, including Sukhdev Vihar, Jasola Vihar, Abul Fazal, Haji Colony, Gaffar Manzil, Shahin Bagh and other places was that it was being held in violation of the Environment Assessment Notification dated September 15, 2006, according to which it should have been held near the project site, but it was kept at quite a distance.
Being implemented in an area where more than a million people live and there are several major educational institutions and hospitals, the project would cause pollution in the region, the civil society groups apprehended. Finding that there would be strong opposition to the project, the hearing was suddenly was shifted to the premises of the Deputy Director, Education Department of Delhi.
While a case against the project is pending in the Supreme Court, local organizations and individuals on receiving a notification for the public hearing, wrote letters to the DPCB and the District Magistrate, and even met the latter on January 15. However, as the officialdom did not agree, several residents reached the spot of the public hearing on January 16 morning, captured the platform, shut down the mic, and turned off the camera.
While the police tried to prevent people from protesting, the attempt did not succeed. The public hearing was formally cancelled in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the civil society network, National Alliance of People's Movements, which backed the struggle, said in its statement that while 10,000 tonnes of garbage was being collected daily in Delhi, and it is becoming a big problem to dispose it of, having a plant in the middle of a densely-populated area would create more pollution.

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