• MCD’s garbage treatment project fails to take off

  • Quake rocks N-E States

  • Met. Department indicted for compromising air safety

  • MCD’s garbage treatment project fails to take off

    Chetan Chauhan

    New Delhi, August 12: DELHI'S FIRST experiment with treating of municipal garbage has failed to take-off. There are no buyers for end product of treated garbage — compost.

    Lakhs of tonnes of untreated garbage is scattered over the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's landfill site at Bhalswa even as the area residents are crying foul. Residents have accepted the strong stench but reported contamination of water has caused serious threat.

    No one else more than the different government and civic agencies are to be blamed. Six thousand tonnes of compost worth Rs 1.2 crore is piled around the factory within the landfill site. But there are no buyers.

    The project's failure has also put a question mark over the future of treating 18,000 tonnes of municipal garbage in the Capital. The Supreme Court has directed civic agencies to put at least 10 compost plants in different parts of Delhi for converting organic garbage into manure.

    The paucity of landfill sites has already hit the MCD's garbage picking plans adversely. Villagers agitated against creating a landfill site last year and now Bhatti Mines landfill site has sparked protest from environmentalists.

    Delhi government had also drawn ambitious plans to remove garbage from the city. The anti-plastic bill will come into force from October 2, 2001 and after that all municipal garbage will have to be segregated and recycled. The organic material will be converted into compost and this will supplement MCD's revenue.

    From his experience S S Rana, general manager of the plant, poses a question. "Who will risk crores of rupees if there is no buyer for compost?" It is an area in which government should step in, he adds.

    But it has been in vain, says chief executive of the company, Annu Khurana. After investing Rs 10 crore in the project, she finds herself being shoved from one government department to other. "Not even a single official is ready to revive the project," she alleges.

    She has a never-ending list of Delhi government and MCD officials whom she visited in the past two months since the plant came to a virtual halt. "Only 10 per cent of the plant's capacity is being utilised. We are losing Rs 10 lakh per month," Rana said.

    The Chief Minister, Environment Minister and Development Minister espoused with their cause but expressed their inability in helping them. "Delhi government asked us to meet MCD officials and they sent us back to the government. This is going on for the past two months," said seemingly dejected Khurana.

    In the open market the compost is not sellable as it is priced higher than the chemical fertilizers. "The cost of compost is Rs three per kilogram but the chemical fertilizer is priced Rs one less. Being an organic manure, compost does not cause much damage to trees and is a better soil nourisher," Rana said. MCD has 30,000 parks and compost manufactured can be utilised there.

    The area legislator, Jile Singh Chauhan, said the landfill site was contaminating underground water reservoir, causing gastroenteritis to residents of Bhalswa JJ clusters.


    Quake rocks N-E States

    THE HINDU [13 AUGUST, 2001]

    SHILLONG, AUG. 12. An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.6 on the Richter Scale, rattled the North-Eastern States on the Indo-Myanmar border at 7.28 a.m today.

    According to the Shillong Central Seismological Observatory Centre, the quake was epicentred at 23.3 degree north and 93.1 degree east along the Indo-Myanmar border. The tremors, that prevailed for about five seconds, were also felt in Shillong. Earlier, on August 8, a quake measuring 3.9 on the Richter Scale had rocked Shillong and Guwahati.

    Meanwhile, an Itanagar report said an earthquake of mild intensity rocked this Himalayan capital of Arunachal Pradesh and its surroundings this morning. The quake, felt at 7.29 a.m., lasted for a few seconds only. However, there was no report of any casualty or damage to property.


    Met. Department indicted for compromising air safety

    THE HINDU [13 AUGUST, 2001]
    By Our Special Correspondent

    NEW DELHI, AUG. 12. The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India has indicted the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for compromising the safety of air passengers by allowing undue delays in the installation of the Automatic Visual Range Accessors (AVRAs), which are essential for continuous monitoring and measurement of vital meteorological parameters such as the runway visual range, wind speed and direction and air temperature.

    In a report submitted to Parliament, the CAG has highlighted how even 10 years after the project to install the equipment in 12 locations across the country was taken up, the equipment was in place in only eight centres and of them, two were yet to be made operational, one because of defective parts and another because of non-availability of the operational vehicles for the routine inspection of the instrument at the field site.

    The project, which was taken up in 1990, fell short of the requirement projected by the National Airport Authority (NAA). The NAA had initially requested the IMD to provide the facility at 16 airports. But, the Council of Meteorological and Atmospheric Sciences approved the installation of only 12 AVRAs. The project was to be completed in the Eighth Plan period, which ended in 1997. The AVRAs are particularly needed in the wake of the phenomenal increase in air traffic and induction of larger and faster aircraft.

    The AVRAs were to be installed at Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkatta, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Patna, Imphal, Agartala, and Mohanbari. While in all other centres one AVRA was to be installed, two were to be installed in Mumbai, one for runway 09 and the other for runway 14.

    According to the CAG report, so far, they have been installed and have become operational in Chennai, Kolkatta, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Guwahati only.

    In Hyderabad, the installation work was completed as early as May 1997, but the equipment was yet to become operational in the absence of the specialised maintenance vehicle. In Mumbai, while both the AVRAs have been installed, only one has become operational and the other has not because of defective parts for which replacement was not available. The matter, the report adds, was brought to the notice of the Ministry in July 2000, but there has been no reply.