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CSE charges firms with using 'non-clean tech'

By BS Bureau in New Delhi
November 09, 2005 11:20 IST
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Gujarat Fluorochemicals Ltd and SRF Fluorochemicals were among companies charged today by the Centre for Science and Environment with using non-clean processes and technologies. These companies, seeking to trade in clean technologies, denied the charges when contacted.

The companies named by the CSE, the Delhi-based environment watchdog, are into clean development mechanism projects, which enable them to earn certified carbon reduction units through the adoption of environment-friendly technology.

These companies in turn sell CER units to foreign entities, which want to meet emission yardsticks set for countries under the Kyoto Protocol.

The CSE has also charged PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young with doing a 'cut-and-paste' job while preparing project design documents for CDM schemes.

Making a presentation at a meeting here, CSE director Sunita Narain criticised the process by which the CDM was working, especially in India. CSE-owned Down to Earth magazine, in its latest issue, has claimed that the design of the CDM made by the UN has made it a corrupt development mechanism besides creating opportunities for consultants to mint money.

The presentation was attended by officials from the ministries of environment and external affairs, the prime minister's office, and representatives of industry and other non-government organisations.

The CSE alleged that the SRF plant in the Alwar district of Rajasthan, which manufactures HCFC-22, a gas used in refrigeration for replacing unclean CFCs, was causing depletion and pollution of ground water. Arun Bharat Ram, chairman and managing director, SRF Ltd, denied the charges.

"We are continuously recycling water discharged from the unit and also undertaking water harvesting. The excess water used (restricted to human use and watering vegetation) is kept to the minimum," he said, adding that the discharge was only a third of what was legally permitted by the state. "The state pollution control board is monitoring this on a monthly basis."

On not being aware of the afforestation clause, he said it was well within the company's plans. "We have already begun work on this front. According to agreements, we need to do this only from next year and that, too, over a 10-year period," he said.

The CSE also alleged that villagers in the neighbourhood of Gujarat-based GFL plant had complained of water pollution and leaching from ponds. When contacted, GFL Director Tarun Jain said he was not in a position to comment. However, the magazine quotes a GFL executive as saying that "people make allegations to make money".

The CSE report also named Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd and RK Powergen, which used biomass for generating power. The companies could not be contacted.

On the issue of PDDs being identical, both PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young claimed that identical projects in similar geographical locations were likely to have similar PDDs. Ernst & Young National Director (risk and business solutions) Sunil Chandiramani said the answers were in accordance with a fixed set of questions and in a "similar environment, it is unlikely that responses will be drastically different".

"Our role on CDM engagements is confined to selection and adaption of approved methodology as per UNFCC and assisting the management in compiling information required as per the methodology. At no stage are we involved in verification and validation, which is done by accredited independent agencies," Ernst & Young said in a faxed response.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' Associate Director Ram Babu also maintained that the firm was adhering to institutional processes to validate and verify facts and figures presented by the project proponents for whom it was the adviser. "We strictly adhere to these processes," he said.
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BS Bureau in New Delhi
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