According to reports, the Planning Commission has constituted a task force to examine the technological aspects of Waste to Energy (WTE) projects started by civic bodies.
Various civic bodies, including the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), have started WTE projects as a solution to garbage disposal issues. However, some civic organizations and experts have registered their objection and demanded the Centre appoint a committee to evaluate the technological aspects and efficiency of these projects.
“The Centre has decided to work on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for the WTE projects. The expert committee set up by the planning commission will give its recommendations after government ministries submit their reports,” a senior PMC official said.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is the nodal ministry in charge of promoting WTE projects. MNRE has formulated a programme on energy recovery from municipal solid waste and has set up one pilot project each in the cities of Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune, and two in New Delhi.
The Pune project, started by the PMC in Hadapsar, has already run into trouble. A Mumbai-based private company had been roped in to run the plant on a build-operate-transfer basis to process 700-tonne dry waste and generate 10MW electricity per day. However, the project has failed to run to its full capacity and has led to the piling up of garbage and rejected material in the open in the plant’s backyard, close to residential areas. Activists have demanded that the project be scrutinised by an experts’ committee. They claimed that the company had violated environmental norms, in addition to flouting clauses of the agreement with the civic body – a breach that is likely to attract a huge penalty.
According to sources, the Planning Commission task force members are likely to visit the Pune plant and examine operations before submitting their report.