Two days after the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) declared a ban on the use of diesel generators in Delhi-NCR from October 15, environmentalists and residents are skeptical of its implementation in Gurgaon.
Most said the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam (DHBVN) will first need to address the electricity deficit that plagues the city as several condominiums, malls and industries are still dependent on diesel generators for uninterrupted power supply.
Gurgaon is estimated to have over 10,000 diesel generator sets, operational primarily in societies in DLF and Sushant Lok areas, offices and industries in Udyog Vihar, apart from malls along MG Road and Sohna road.
New condominiums in areas from Sector 58 to 115 also primarily run on diesel generators.
Sumit Tandon, who resides in a gated condominium along Golf Course Road, said, “I used to live in an independent bungalow in Phase 1 but eventually chose to move here because of the assurance of 100% power backup. If generators have to be banned, it should first be ensured the city has the infrastructure to support that ban,” he said.
Poor power supply
Under the Graded Response Action Plan, Delhi-NCR is supposed to follow measures listed as per the corresponding air quality. Considering power supply challenges in NCR regions, the provision to stop use of diesel generators was only imposed in Delhi last year. This year, it will include Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida and Faridabad, but will not include rural pockets. Implementing the order is a challenge as these towns see more power cuts than Delhi. Private companies provide power from generator sets at higher rates during power cuts.
Ecologist Vijay Dhasmana called it a “well-intentioned move” but added: “Implementation and monitoring will be key to this ban. The ban will be impossible if there is no consistent electricity supply.”
The district administration, however, said it is confident of implementing the ban. Speaking to The Indian Express, Deputy Commissioner Amit Khatri said, “We have met with DHBVN officials and discussed the matter of ensuring stable supply of electricity. If that is done, this issue of diesel generators will not be there at all… We have also assembled teams that will be deployed to ensure there is no violation of the ban.”
Officials from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), which is supposed to implement the ban, did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner also issued guidelines Wednesday to check Gurgaon’s worsening air quality.
“With the festive season having begun and cold kicking in, pollution levels in NCR are expected to rise. The performance of many of our departments in Gurgaon is waning and should quickly be improved upon to provide relief to citizens,” states the letter. It further warned that “officers will be held responsible” if Dr Bhure Lal, chairman of the EPCA, who is expected to visit the city, observes any instances of non-compliance.
The letter also directs officers to follow the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which includes three- to four-fold hike in parking fees and improving public transport services during adverse conditions.