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Diesel generators to be banned in Ggm if air gets fouler

September 15, 2018 05:30 AM

COURTESY HT SEPT 15

Prayag Arora­Desai prayag.desai@htlive.com ■
Diesel generators to be banned in Ggm if air gets fouler
SC­MANDATED:
ANTI­POLLUTION BODY TELLS ADMINISTRATION THAT ONCE ‘GRAP’ COMES INTO EFFECT, GENSETS WON’T BE ALLOWED, NCR CITIES GOT RELIEF LAST YEAR

GURUGRAM : NCR cities such as Gurugram and Noida will not be allowed to run diesel generators once the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) for curbing air pollution kicks in. Last year, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had given the concession after the state governments submitted that banning generators will adversely affect power supply.

Several condominiums in Gurugram depend on diesel generators for their power backup during peak summer when average power cuts can go up to 6-7 hours. Also, the state has a demand-supply gap of over 400 MW. Diesel generators, however, are a major source of pollution with their fumes adding dangerous particulate matter and noxious gases to the air. After a state-level meeting with the EPCA on Thursday, district authorities in Gurugram are preparing to implement the Graded Response Action Plan by October 15.

Jai Bhagwan Sharma, regional officer (Gurugram), Haryana State Pollution Control Board said, “The police will be responsible for enforcing the ban on diesel gensets this year. We will monitor the extent of the problem and will keep them apprised.” However, KK Rao, commissioner of police, said that he had not yet been informed about it but as soon as the instructions are provided, the police will take appropriate action. Last year, the ban on diesel gensets had been imple mented only in New Delhi after state governments requested an exemption, citing issues of power supply in NCR towns. “At the time, local authorities had been warned that they will not be exempted from the ban next year, and that they have one year to fix their power supply problems,” said Polaash Mukherjee, a senior researcher at the Centre for Science and Environment, which works closely with EPCA.

“However the situation in that regard does not seem to have improved,” he added.

While local activists and experts lauded the move to not allow diesel generators to operate across the NCR, they are sceptical about it efficacy in Gurugram. “The city’s inability to fix its power supply will continue to force the people to use diesel gensets,” said activist Vivek Kamboj.

Currently, DG sets are concentrated in DLF areas, Sushant Lok, in over two dozen malls around Sohna Road and MG Road, Udyog Vihar industries and new group housing complexes located in developing sectors, such as 84 to 115, where sub-stations for distribution of power have not yet been built. “Diesel gensets are the go to power source for a society which is power deprived. Even if there is a ban, people will continue to use them, which will lead to widespread environmental degradation,” Kamboj said. The Hindustan Times had reported in a series on power this July that 50,000 litres of diesel is burnt every hour for power backup in Gurugram.

Diesel generators are known to emit large quantities of sulphur oxides and particulate matter into the air, which leads to the formation of secondary aerosols, particularly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) – a carcinogen formed as a direct consequence of diesel combustion.

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