Green curb on Re Sustainability’s mega incinerator plant at Koilwar

Re Sustainability Ltd (previously Ramky Enviro Engineering Ltd), got environment clearance to the project from Central environment, forest & climate change ministry in 2015

incinerator plant at Koilwar

Patna: Fate of the mega incinerator project, being built on the bank of river Sone in Koilwar, about 28km west from Patna, hangs in a balance. The Bihar state pollution control board (BSPCB) has declined the ‘consent to operate’ (CTO) to the plant being built at the cost of about ₹250 crore, citing violation of environment norms.

A Hyderabad-based company, Re Sustainability Limited (previously known as Ramky Enviro Engineering Ltd), had got the environment clearance to the project from the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoFECC) in 2015 and started construction at the site in 2020 after getting the mandatory clearance, ‘CTE’ by the BSPCB.

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However, a group of local villagers had launched an agitation against the plant, alleging that the environment clearance to the project was granted by the on production of misleading data about location of the company. Construction of the plant is in the final stages.

Continued agitation by the local people forced the BSPCB to conduct a public hearing and despatch a four-member expert committee, comprising member secretary Chandra Shekhar, for site inspection, about four months ago. The BSPCB, which had earlier given its ‘CTE’ to start construction of the plant has withheld the CTO after finding the villagers’ claims true. Chandra Shekhar said that the board had rejected the Re Sustainability’s claim for CTO to the plant.

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The plant is being set up on the river’s bed, contrary to the Re Sustainability’s claim of the plant being built about 1.25km far from the river. The incinerator was meant to dispose of hazardous industrial waste of more than 100 factories, biomedical waste of more than 150 hospitals besides electronic waste collected by other authorised agencies.

Crying foul in the EC procedure, an environmentalist Gopal Krishna, who also spearheaded a campaign against establishment of plant on Sone river bed near Mahmadpur village, alleged that the site is located about 3-4km away from Sone-Ganga confluence. “Toxic gases emanating from the incinerator’s chimney might prove to be a health hazard for local people. Many schools are around the plant, besides a mental asylum. The liquid waste discharged from the plant would not damage the river ecosystem of Sone and Ganga, but it’s also likely to contaminate the ground water and soil in the area,” added Krishna, while citing detailed finding of a PUCL report on it.

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The PUCL report claimed that the MoEFCC had rejected the EC to the project in the first attempt in 2012. “However, the Ramky (currently Resustainability Ltd) made another attempt in 2015 by furnishing wrong data and got the EC. The PUCL fact-finding committee had listed a lot of irregularities in allowing the plant to come up there,” the report stated.

Resustainability Ltd claimed that their plant follows very strict norms for emission and it would affect ecosystem of the surrounding area as the plant was equipped with state-of-the-art to ‘zero discharge’ technology. The company had filed an appeal against the BSPCB’s withdrawal to the CTE and a team of MoEFCC had visited the plant site in February this year and made ‘positive’ observation. Alternatively, the company has appealed to the state’s environment department to review the BPSCB’s order. The company’s reply claimed that the EC was given after proper reports by the concerned agencies.

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Secretary, department of environment, forest and climate change, Bihar, Bandana Preyashi said that the company officials had met her with an appeal. “I will get the case examined thoroughly and take appropriate action,” she said.

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