Get ready to share the burden of India’s increasing energy needs --- use of fly ash generated by thermal power plants will soon become mandatory in any type of construction in the country.
For you, the construction cost of your house would increase, as fly ash bricks are at least 20-25 per cent costlier than the traditional clay bricks.
Irrespective of that, the ministry of Environment and Forests want the builders to play a more proactive role in deposing over 900 million tonnes of fly ash generated till 2006 to reduce the burden on the country’s fragile environment. In 1999-2000, the fly ash deposited in ash ponds was just 450 million tonnes.
The ministry issued a draft notification earlier this month seeking views from all stakeholders on its new policy framework making it mandatory for the municipal bodies or development authorities or building plan approval bodies to incorporate use of fly ash in construction. The provision is also applicable for all construction work done by the Central Public Works Department and State government agencies.
That’s not all. The financial institutions giving loans for construction will be required to incorporate a clause in the loan agreement making use of fly ash compulsory for the builders. The ash generated from thermal plants can be as bricks, tiles, cement or blocks, the ministry’s notification states.
Even in road and embankment construction, the ministry wants fly ash to be used extensively unless it leads to increase in the project cost by over 25 per cent or is technically unfeasible. For that, the road construction agency will have to get a certificate of unfeasibility from the Indian Road Congress.
The new notification also prohibits the government to fill low lying or reclaimed areas with soil. “Only pond ash shall be used for reclamation or compaction,” the ministry has stated.
Apparently for the first time accountability has also been fixed for the government officials. The officials responsible for sanctioning the building plans would be responsible for enforcing the new proposal, the ministry’s notification states.
To ensure that fly ash is properly dispose, the government has also prescribed the disposal mechanism for thermal plants, the largest generators of ash in India. The thermal plans will be required to submit annual compliance reports on fly ash disposal to either State Pollution Control Boards or the Central Pollution Control Board. Guidelines have also been set for fly ash utilisation generated by the new thermal power plants.