Shimla to become India’s first hill station to turn solid waste into electricity
SHIMLA- Shimla will become the first hill state in India to generate electricity from solid waste in April. The claim was made by Shimla Municipal Corporation as it gave another date for commissioning of the solid waste treatment plant that had officially stopped working in 2014. The trial runs are scheduled to begin March 20 onward with an aim to dedicate it to Shimla on April 1. The Elephant Energy Private Limited is the new proponent that would be operating this 100 metric capacity plant located in Bharyal near Taradevi.
As per the SMC, the plant will generate 1.7 to 2 Megwatt electricity by processing about 50-60 metric ton solid waste generated by Shimla daily. The plant is revived with a cost of Rs. 42 crores and the MC claims it would operate for next 40 years.
Earlier, the MC had failed to follow National Green Tribunal’s deadline of December 2016 for commissioning of the plant. The corporation was left in a quandary after the previous proponent set the plant on fire in 2015 and ran away. The plant was officially commissioned in 2013 but hardly treated any waste as it ceased to operate in 2014. The premises of the plant had turned into a dumping site. Entire plant started to stink due dumped waste. However, the real trouble for the nearby habitation including villages and Tutu area begun when the dumped waste was set on fire.
The large amount of smoke choked nearby habitations and a thin layer of emissions were visible over entire city for several months. The plant caught fire multiple times and kept smoldering as MC watched helplessly.
MC faced another setback when the NGT directed it to transport all its solid waste to Chandigarh for processing until Shimla gets its own facility. MC was spending about 30-40 lakh on transporting the waste, which added to huge financial losses. Chandigarh had also declined accepting additional 60 metric ton of waste for processing but was prevented by the NGT considering situation of SMC.
During this drama, the city turned into a sort of open landfills and there is no ward which is not littered with domestic or commercial waste. The sanitation worker sweep roadsides and collect daily garbage only to set it on fire. In 2017, too, Shimla is still burning or disposing solid waste in open. Lack of plant, thus, also added to air pollution.
Hopefully, from April onward, Shimla will get its own plant. For a hill station like Shimla, it’ll be a huge relief from ecological perspective.