FEATURES the Howrah Municipal Corporation to build a Rs 3,400-crore plant at Domjur where garbage will be processed to generate electricity. If the garbage-to-energy plant sees the light of day, it would be the first of its kind in India, giving Swachh Bharat a new spin. The project not only promises Howrah a clean, renewable source of energy but also an easy solution to its problem of mounting garbage. The civic body has been looking for a dumping ground to replace the one at Belgachhia (not to be confused with the locality by the same name in north Calcutta) that is already a 30-storey mountain of waste. "We are going to collaborate with INTEC Micro Powder AG, which has the world's best and newest patented technology for conversion of solid waste into renewable energy, to tackle our garbage problem," Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty said after a meeting last week with municipal affairs minister Firhad Hakim, representatives of the German company and CESC officials. The project is a public-private partnership to be executed by a joint venture company named Solid Waste Energy Private Ltd, comprising the municipal corporation, INTEC Micro Powder AG and FEAL Techno Pvt Ltd, the facilitator. Also 90 per cent of the funding would be by a consortium of German companies - Juvema Lux, a finance organisation, FEAL and INTEC. All three have committed to make equal contributions. The remaining 10 per cent will be provided by the municipal
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corporation, 30 per cent in cash and 70 per cent in bank guarantees. In addition to this, the civic body is required to provide more than 35 acres free of charge for the project. A 15-hectare plot (37.06 acres) in Raghunathpur Mouza of Domjur, next to NH6, has been selected for the plant. In that area of Howrah, the market value of land is about Rs 3 crore an acre. "The foundation stone for the plant will be laid in January and we hope to commission it 24 months down the line," said Debasish Mukherjee of FEAL, India. "The plant will have the highest performing waste-to-energy system in the world, producing 2.2 MW/hour from one tonne organic waste," said Andreas Kruger, INTEC's chief executive officer who was in Howrah for talks with the mayor. The company operates seven plants in Germany, the UK, Vietnam and other countries that convert waste to energy using patented technology. The Howrah plant is expected to generate 70MW per hour. The plan is to sell the power to CESC. A purchase agreement is being readied under which power generated at the plant would be purchased by CESC at the existing rate of Rs 5.11 per watt. There is a provision to raise the rate later. According to sources, CESC has also sent a proposal to the state electricity regulatory board to purchase the power generated at the plant at Rs 5.11 per watt. A purchase agreement would be signed if and when the board approves the proposal. German consul general Olaf Iversen
Only for representation said he was excited to bring German technology to Bengal. "We are fascinated by this waste-togas-to-energy project. It is a new technology. Howrah could make headlines all over India and beyond if the project is implemented here on the scale proposed. In my view, the project proposal is well founded and convincing," he told Metro. Iversen said the project was all about providing a sustainable solution to Howrah's garbage problem. "Once the waste is taken away, the land where it is being dumped would become available for better purposes." The civic body is aiming to reclaim Belgachhia in a decade. "In about 10 years, we hope to rid Belgachhia of its garbage dump and use the land for development," said municipal commissioner Nilanjan Chattopadhyay, who has visited an INTEC plant at Wessel, about 300km from Dusseldorf in Germany. "The site chosen for our plant is just 15km away from the Belgachhia trenching ground. Being close to the national highway, it will be easy to transfer garbage to the site," Chattopadhyay said.