With over 36 years of professional experience, Pradeep Khandelwal is currently chief engineer at the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). He has been associated with the organisation for over 34 years. He is currently looking after solid waste management at EDMC, which caters to an area of 106 sq. km and a population of 4.4 million.
He shares that East Delhi generates over 2,600 million tonnes of municipal solid waste at present. To manage this, the corporation has initiated source segregation at three out of 64 wards and is planning to cover all the wards within a year. EDMC is also promoting decentralised waste management for wet waste by setting up composters and biomethanisation plants. For dry waste, the corporation is planning to set up a material recovery facility.
At present, there are three waste-to-energy (WtE) plants in Delhi – a 2,000 tonnes per day (TPD) plant at Okhla with 16 MW of electricity generation capacity, a 1,300 TPD plant at Ghazipur of 12 MW generation capacity and a 2,000 TPD plant at Narela-Bawana with generation capacity of 24 MW. In addition, a 2,000 TPD WtE plant at Tajpur has recently been awarded, he shares.
Among the most challenging and memorable assignments of his career, he recalls in particular the setting up of integrated municipal solid waste processing projects at Okhla and Timarpur during 2004-08 on a public-private partnership basis. “These were pioneering projects in the field of waste management and presented tremendous learning opportunities in terms of project design, development and operations,” he says.
He believes that working together as a team is the key to success and it is also important to respect, trust and acknowledge other people’s opinions and suggestions. “I recognise the skills of every individual on the team and allow team members to participate in discussions. I try to create a sense of ownership among them,” says Khandelwal.
In spite of the challenging nature of his profile, Khandelwal tries to take out time to meet his friends and family on a regular basis. “I also keep myself involved in a number of cultural, social and sports activities; this helps me in managing stress. My goal is to be flexible and adaptive to different circumstances,” says Khandelwal.
He is a civil engineer from REC Kurukshetra and also has a master’s in environmental engineering and science from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.