Days after the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) extended the closure of the Badarpur power station, the state power department said the plant must be allowed to run in summers to avoid blackouts in parts of South Delhi.
In a meeting convened by the Environment Pollution (prevention and control) authority (EPCA) to review implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan on Friday, power secretary Varsha Joshi said that the 705MW coal-based plant needs to operate till the Tughlaqabad sub-station is commissioned to meet the power demand of south Delhi areas.
“Peak demand has already begun to increase and is now around 3900MW. In summers, we cannot function if Badarpur is not made operational. We request that shutting the plant be considered only when pollution levels reach severe or emergency category,” Joshi said.
A representative of NTPC — that runs the plant — also stated that emission control measures taken by it and particulate matter emissions were brought under control. On January 31, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) had extended the closure of the Badarpur plant till further orders.
Refusing to put it in a different category, EPCA member and director general of CSE, Sunita Narain said that the plant could run during summers, but only on “conditional basis.” “We will allow the plant to run during summers only if we get a monthly update on the progress of the upcoming sub-station. However, in case air quality worsens it will still have to shut,” she said.
The Supreme Court mandated body also stated that the graded response plan’s ‘severe to very poor category’ will remain enforced for the rest of the winter season. It also directed the UP and Haryana to issue an order banning all brick kilns in their territories which do not adopt to zig-zag technology within eight months. Uttar Pradesh claimed that out 687 brick kilns across Ghaziabad, Hapur and Gautam Budh Nagar districts, only four were operating after GRAP (measures when air quality is poor) was enforced in NCR.
Officials from Delhi’s transport department also informed it has impounded around 3,978 visibly polluting vehicles in January, while 891 were found violating PUC norms. EPCA expressed displeasure over the Haryana government’s inability to contain the menace of dust in Gurgaon. “The situation is such that clear skies cannot be seen anywhere between Delhi and Alwar. Dust control has to be top agenda of Haryana government,” Bhure Lal, chairman of EPCA, said.