The state government has made it mandatory for all new buildings to be constructed using material containing fly ash, aiming to dispose of the entire quantity produced across Maharashtra without causing environment pollution and health hazards.
Fly ash or coal dust is the ash produced in small dark flecks due to the burning of powdered coal during electricity generation and is very harmful to health and environment. It can, however, be used by the construction industry in making concrete and bricks.
A senior official with the state public works department said, “We have made it compulsory for all new construction in the vicinity of 300 kilometres of any power plant in the state to use building construction material having fly ash. Considering Maharashtra’s area and the location of power plants, this will cover the entire state.”
He added that for cities with a population of over one crore, the municipal corporations will amend the development control regulation to make the use of fly ash compulsory in building construction.
Earlier, as per the Centre’s norms, it was compulsory for all construction projects in the vicinity of 100 kilometres of power plants to use material made out of fly ash. However, despite this, a large quantity of fly ash still remains unused prompting the government to come up with stricter regulation.
Maharashtra currently produces three million tonne of fly ash every year, of which only about 60 per cent is used, while the rest is dumped and becomes a major source of pollution for areas in the vicinity, the official said.
“The new decision will enable Maharashtra to become completely free of fly ash,” he added.
Fly ash can typically make about 15-20 per cent of the concrete mix and is said to enhance the structural stability.
With the cost of transporting fly ash from the thermal power station to the project site also being a deterrent for its use in the construction industry, the state government has now made it mandatory for the thermal power plant to bear all
transportation costs within a distance of 100 kilometres. Beyond that, the cost is expected to be equally shared between the power plant and the user of fly ash.
“The idea behind this is to reduce the cost of material produced from fly ash so that it is beneficial for the ultimate consumer,” a PWD engineer said.
Besides private projects, the state also plans to use material containing fly ash for the construction of all public buildings, cement roads, bridges and other infrastructure under various government schemes.