The Badarpur Thermal Power Station (BTPS) is going to remain shut until summers.
The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) on Tuesday evening extended the ban on the 705 MW plant by directing the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited to keep the plant closed.
“As per directions from the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), the Badarpur thermal power plant shall remain closed until further directions from the authority are received,” the order issued by DPCC read.
The 43-year-old plant, a major contributor to Delhi’s air pollution, was to open from February 1. However, as the air quality continues to be poor, the Delhi government decided to keep it closed for now.
“In no way the plant can operate now. Air pollution levels are still either very poor or severe. EPCA had already given clear directions to the Delhi government,” said Sunita Narain, member EPCA.
According to the Graded Response Action Plan, the Badarpur power plant ought to be shut as soon as PM 2.5 levels or ultra-fine particles in the air cross 250 micrograms per cubic. “Shut down BTPS and maximise generation of power from existing natural gas based plants to reduce operation of coal based power plants in the NCR,” the action plan states.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal imposed the prohibition on November 6 in 2016 when Delhi was experiencing its worst spell of smog and pollution in recent memory. Apart from prohibition on its functioning, the DPCC has also barred lifting of flyash for any purpose along with ensuring the regular sprinkling of water in the flyash storage area in the Badarpur plant, one of the major sources of pollution in the city, identified by an IIT Kanpur study.
At the EPCA meeting on January 20, members had made it clear that the plant will remain shut unless there is any power crisis in the city.