June 3, 2021 6:27:14 pm
A petition has been filed by the Delhi government in the Supreme Court seeking closure of 10 thermal power plants around the capital that are using outdated pollution control technology, environment minister Gopal Rai said on Thursday.
A statement from Rai’s office said these 10 coal-fired thermal power plants in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are contributing significantly to air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.
“We have been writing to the Government of India and requesting their cooperation regarding pollution from thermal plants. However, no action has been taken against these plants and instead, they are being allowed to pollute with total disregard for the health of citizens. We hope that the Supreme Court will take the necessary steps and direct closure of these plants on an urgent basis,” Rai said.
A statement issued by his office said the timeline given by the Ministry of Power to these plants to comply with emission norms were revised to December 2019 as against the earlier timeline of 2018. “However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) arbitrarily extended the deadline to 2022. Further, according to the new notification, non-compliance by these power plants will not lead to closure of polluting units but they would continue to pollute subject to payment of a mere penalty amount,” the statement added.
It also said that the Delhi government, in representations to the power ministry and the CPCB in October 2020, had sought the closure of these non-compliant power plants citing risk to the health of citizens due to “excessive pollution” caused by them.
“According to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), the power plant operators have also secured dilution of NOx (nitrogen oxide) norms for power plants installed between 2003 and 2016. It has been estimated that the delay in installation of the SO2 (sulphur dioxide) 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, which can go up if power plants are operated more than they were in 2018,” the statement from Rai’s office said.
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