RWAs step forward for eco-friendly colonies

Project has three focus areas — solar power, rainwater harvesting and waste management

March 02, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:33 am IST - NEW DELHI:

A host of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) in the Capital are coming out to help each other in making their localities eco-friendly. The collective project being undertaken has three focus areas -- solar power, rainwater harvesting and waste management.

According to Atul Goyal, the convenor of the United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) Front, about 95 per cent of the existing rainwater harvesting chambers in Delhi is lying defunct. In a bid to conserve the old water harvesting units, URJA Front, which is an umbrella body of about 850 RWAs in the city, has chalked out a pilot project to revive 50 of them. While restoration of one such harvesting unit has been completed in Defence Colony, some other areas where work is yet to be completed include Vasant Kunj, Gargi College, Chittaranjan Park and so on.

“Rainwater harvesting chambers in Delhi are dying due to the absolute neglect of the municipal corporations and the Delhi government. Instead on creating new chambers and later rendering tem defunct, we have decided to help smaller RWAs in maintaining the existing ones,” said Mr. Goyal.

Maintenance of a regular rainwater harvesting unit would cost the residents of a locality anywhere between Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 10,000 annually, depending on the size.

Four RWAs from areas like Shahdara, Nizamuddin West, Saket and Jor Bagh have come forward to tap solar power to run their offices. “On Saturday, we installed a 1 kV solar power system at the rooftop of our office. It won’t be enough to run an air conditioner, but will support lights, fans and a cooler, which is enough. It is a grid-connected system. So, we shall earn if we give surplus power back to the grid,” said Rajesh Aggarwal of the Shahdara RWA. The move, he added, is to create awareness among residents and encourage them to go green.

Some other RWAs in Greater Kailash and Alaknanda are also seeking permission from municipal corporations to utilise parks in their locality for digging compost pits. “We hope to create an effective waste management system, which would not only include trash like leaves but also kitchen waste. But to dig pits in these parks we have to take approval from the municipal corporation, for which talks are on,” said Ashutosh Dikshit, chief executive officer, URJA Front. When asked why most of the projects are focused in South Delhi areas, Mr. Goyal said, “Most of these establishments are actually based more in South Delhi than in East and North Delhi and this is because the RWAs in East and North Delhi are not well funded.” A number of RWAs have also roped in private companies to fund these projects as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity.

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