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Waste-to-Energy Project In Ramtekdi Faces Hurdles; Accumulation Of Waste In Premises Raises Concerns

Posted by Admin3

Waste management

Tejas Navale

Pune: Efforts to generate electricity from waste at Ramtekdi, undertaken by the Pune Municipal Corporation, have hit a roadblock despite the establishment of a 750-tonne capacity project. Instead of electricity generation, the project is currently producing boiler fuel. Moreover, the accumulation of thousands of tonnes of waste on the project premises has raised concerns.

The establishment of a waste-to-energy project at Ramtekdi began in 2012–13. Initially, the administration was planning two separate projects of 500 and 250 tonnes of capacity at the Devachi Uruli waste depot. However, due to local opposition, a single 750-ton capacity project was initiated at the Ramtekdi Industrial Estate.

The company that initially came up with this concept withdrew from it later due to technical reasons. Subsequently, in 2019, the proposal from 'Pune Bio Energy' was approved, integrating boiler fuel production alongside power generation to comply with the amended waste treatment rules in the Environment Act of 2016. This modification escalated the project cost by approximately Rs 90 crore, along with a doubling of the waste transfer fee.

The approval in 2019 mandated the company to commence boiler fuel production in the first year, with actual power generation slated to begin after the completion of regulatory processes and loan arrangements. Consequently, the company initiated fuel production by processing 300 tonnes of waste in the inaugural year while simultaneously pursuing approvals from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 brought all project activities to a halt. However, in 2022, the Electricity Regulatory Commission granted in-principle approval, followed by final approval in January 2024. During this period, the concerned company received Rs 33 crore, with an additional Rs 11 crore proposed for disbursement. Nevertheless, the project site currently grapples with over 15,000 tonnes of accumulated waste.

Kamlesh Shewte, Engineer of the Solid Waste Management Department, said, "The project in Ramtekdi has been delayed due to Corona and technical difficulties. So far, the concerned company has been issued several notices and fined Rs. 19 lakh for processing waste below capacity." He further informed that orders have been given to the concerned company to actually start power generation in the project by December 2025.

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