Delhi govt moves SC seeking closure of 10 polluting thermal power plants in citys vicinity

The Delhi government on Thursday said it has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking closure of 10 coal-fired power plants in the vicinity of the city using outdated polluting technology.

The 10 thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh have been contributing significantly to air pollution in Delhi-NCR, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.   The Delhi government had written to the central government requesting their cooperation on pollution from these TPPs, but “no help has been received so far. We hope the Supreme Court will take necessary steps and direct closure of these plants on an urgent basis”, he said in a statement.

The 10 power plants are – Dadri NCTPP, Harduaganj TPS, GH TPS (Lehra Mohabbat), Nabha TPP, Ropar TPS, Talwandi Sabo TPP, Yamunanagar TPS, Indira Gandhi STPP, Panipat TPS and Rajiv Gandhi TPS.

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A 2018 study by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Automotive Research Association of India says 60 per cent of the PM 2.5 pollution in Delhi originates from sources outside the city, it said.  Various studies have highlighted the effects of the pollutants from such coal-fired power plants on the health of communities. The ill-effects are more pronounced for vulnerable individuals, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and persons suffering from asthma and lung diseases, the Delhi government said in the statement.

On April 1, the Union Environment Ministry had issued a notification with amended rules allowing thermal power plants within 10 kilometers of the National Capital Region (NCR) and in cities with more than 10 lakh population to comply with new emission norms by the end of 2022.     It had revised emission norms for particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen for TPPs in December 2015, requiring them to install emission control systems by December 2017.

The deadline was pushed to December 2022 for all the power stations in the country in view of implementation issues and challenges.  However, power stations in the national capital region were required to comply with the revised norms by December 2019.

According to the new notification, non-compliance by these TPPs will not lead to the closure of the polluting units but they would continue to pollute subject to the payment of penalty, the Delhi government said in the statement.

According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), TPPs account for more than 60 per cent of the total industrial emissions of particulate matter; 45 per cent of SO2; 30 per cent of NOx; and more than 80 per cent of mercury, in the country.

These are also responsible for 70 per cent of the total freshwater withdrawal by all industries, as per an analysis by the green think tank.

A recent compliance report by CSE showed that out of the 12 power plants located around Delhi, SO2 control technology was available only in two plants.

According to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, the delay in installation of the SO2 and NOx control facilities are leading to more than 13 deaths and a loss of Rs 19 crore daily in the region around Delhi-NCR at 2018 operational levels, it added.


(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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