Will garbage pile up in Chennai suburbs?

Chennai: Garbage disposal problems in the suburban areas got reduced considerably after the waste management plant at Vengadamangalam became functional a few years ago.

However, it is now learnt that Essel Infra Projects (EIP), entrusted with the project of converting waste into electricity, has been asked to hand over the keys of the facility after it failed to generate power from municipal waste.

A halt in the operations will affect the garbage disposal in the suburban areas. It is said there is also a dispute between EIP and the State Electricity Regulation Commission over the tariff for the power that would be generated in phase II of the project.

The company is proposing to sell power for Rs 7.5 per unit while TANGEDCO has agreed only for Rs 6.16 per unit. The plant capacity is 300 tonnes per day and waste from Pallavaram, Pammal, Sembakkam, Anakaputhur and Tambaram were being sent to the site.

However, now only Sembakkam, Pallavaram and Tambaram municipalities send their waste there after the introduction of Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016 calling for segregation of waste at source and decentralised processing of waste.

NOTICE ISSUED

Pallavaram Municipality, which is the nodal body for the plant, confirmed that the notice has been issued.

Acting Pallavaram Municipality Commissioner Karupaiaya Raja said, “The contract is still in place, but we had given them notice as they did not generate electricity through the waste. We are awaiting their response and till then the municipality will transit garbage to the plant.”

When asked about the discrepancy in electricity charges, the officials said it was a state-wide problem and Essel has filed a petition with the respective governing body. The case is said to come up for hearing 10 December.

An official from Sembakkam Municipality said the amount of garbage sent to the Vengadamangalam plant has come down drastically after source segregation and decentralisation of bio-waste.

“The non-bio-degradable waste is being sent to cement factories and the bio-degradable waste converted into manure. Even if the plant is shut down, there will be not much of a problem,” the official said. Essel Group was given a 20-year lease period for the Rs 54 crore waste-to-energy plant.

Inputs by Balasubramani Muniyandi and Bhavani Prabhakar

Balasubramani Muniyandi