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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hunger strikes begins against mega incinerator in Delhi

Okhla Anti-Incineration Committee

PRESS NOTE

Hunger strikes begins against mega incinerator in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Apr. 23 (IPS) - The first of a series of hunger strikes planned by the residents of the Okhla colonies, in protest against a potentially toxic “waste-to-energy” incinerator being built by Jindal Ecopolis, concluded today with volunteers vowing escalate agitations.

Completing his 24-four-fast staged at the Okhla Head, near Batla House, Zain-ul-Abideen told supporters that he was prepared to sit on an indefinite fast if authorities continue to ignore the demands of the residents to site the incinerator at a safe location.

“Municipal waste-handling laws clearly say that incinerators can only sited at landfill sites, rather than in the middle of residential colonies and major institutions like the Jami Millia Islamia University and the Holy Famil Hospital, but the government is ignoring this to favour Jindal Ecopolis,” said Zain-ul-Abideen.

Chandra Rajan Arora, general secretary of the residents welfare association (RWA) of D-block in New Friends Colony, who sat in support of Zain-uk-Abideen, said the Delhi government has deliberately kept the residents in the dark about locating what is planned to be India’s biggest “waste-to-energy” incinerator and the first one in this country in the middle of thickly populated area.

“There was never any public consultation and this is yet another violation of the rules,” Chandra Rajan Arora said. She announced plans to sit on an indefinite hunger strike in New Friends Colony to press the demands of Okhla residents.

Arora said it was shocking that a 2,010 tonne incinerator will be operated by a private company amidst landmark institutions that include the Bahai Lotus temple, Fortis-Escort Heart Care Institute and the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

Arif Khan, general secretary of Haji Colony said the plant “is bound to seriously affect our people living so near to such a big project.”

“It is well-known that around the world such incinerators are located close to places where minorities and marginalized people who have no voices live,” Khan said. “However, in this case, we are fortunate that people from nearby affluent areas like New Friends Colony are making common cause with us,” Khan said.

“Already our children are constantly sick from toxic fumes released daily by biomedical waste incinerator that has been allowed to function for years despite protests,” Khan said. “Once this 2010 tonne “waste- to-energy” plant comes up the whole of Okhla will turn into an environmental disaster.

Usman, a resident of Haji Colony, said that water leaching into the ground from a composting plant had resulted in people being constantly afflicted with skin eruptions and respiratory ailments.

“We have no choice but to use ground water which has been shown to be highly contaminated from the compost plant and the biomedical waste incinerator, also run by a private company Synergy Waste Management.

Devraj Bhadana, representative of the Delhi Jal Board Colony said the Jindal Ecopolis plant would seriously affect children studying in an MCD school in the area. "We will not allow it to come up or let their trucks enter the area," he said. .

Similar protests are underway at Narela-Bawana, Ghazipur and Timarpur against the same incinerator technology.


Signed/-

Chandra Rajan Arora, General Secretary, RWA of New Friends Colony, D-Block. Mobile 9711918001

Arif Khan, General Secretary, Haji Colony RWA . Mobile: 9891519844

Anant Trivedi, RWA member, Ishwar Nagar.

Vanya Joshi, Coordinator, Okhla Anti-Incineration Committee - 9873980694

Asha Arora, Coordinator, Okhla Anti-incineration Committee. Mobile-9711408421 .

Padma Agarwal Gen Secy RWA Jasola Vihar - 9312212419

Devraj Bhadana - Jal Board Colony - 9810101030

S. Khurana, Vice President Sukhdev Vihar RWA – 9810218150


Web address: toxicswatch.blogspot.com

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