Waste-to-energy plant nowhere in sight even after NGT deadline passes
SRINAGAR: The proposed waste to electrical energy plant at Achan, the installation of which is already running late, may not see the light of the day for few more months as the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is struggling to segregate entire waste it collects on a daily basis.
Insiders say that of total 400 metric tonnes of waste produced in a day, the segregator that has the capacity to segregate 1000 metric tonnes in a day manages to segregate just 150 metric tonnes on an average everyday and rest of garbage is dumped without any segregation.
“It is currently out of thought to install waste to energy plant because a huge amount of waste is still dumped without any segregation. Even the officials at the site are struggling to segregate half of the total collected waste,” a source within the department told Kashmir Reader.
He says the segregator operates for around eight hours while as to segregate the entire waste, it needs to function round the clock.
“There is lack of coordination between on-field workers and higher officials in the corporation. For example, the proposal was made for aluminum segregator but the iron-made segregator arrived. It was also conveyed to higher officials that the segregator must be installed in such way that garbage is directly placed on the conveyor without any manual assistance but we have to use bull-dozers for the same,” he said.
Proposed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) to SMC almost three years ago, the aim of the plant was to end the crisis of solid waste management looming large in Srinagar and to ensure sustainable solid waste management for the city at an affordable cost.
However, even after issuing tenders inviting bidders for its installation six times, SMC has been struggling to tender out installation to companies.
Even NGT was angry over the delay to install 5 Megawatt (MW) waste to energy power plant supposed to be constructed within a span of 24 months through Public–Private Partnership (PPP) mode.
In fact, the Green panel had asked the government to commence the work for establishing the plant, which utilizes biomass dumped at the site to generate electricity, by mid November, which is nowhere in the sight even after elapsing the deadline.
Last year three companies had participated in the bidding process of whom two withdrew. One company- Spaak Bresson Private Limited was tendered to design, finance, build and operate the project, but due to differences over Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between government and company the tender was cancelled.
“The company proposed to charge Rs 8.9 per unit of energy which for Power Development Department (PDD) was too high and that led to cancellation of the tender. After that SMC advertised tenders five times but received cold response from the companies,” an SMC official said.
Besides, the project had also received criticism by environment experts who had raised red flag for its non-feasibility for environment and economy.. As per the experts, of the average 400 metric tonnes of solid garbage being produced per day in Srinagar, just 15 percent waste comprises of dry burnable material which is not enough for running a waste to energy project.
Commissioner SMC, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, however, says that they have contracted out the installation and that they will be starting creating facilities soon.
In response to non-segregation of garbage at Achin site, he said the plant “doesn’t need segregated garbage” and the same has been conveyed to them by the company hired for the installation of the plant.