Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s announcement that the Smart Grid project will make Gurgaon free from diesel generator sets seems like a distant dream.
Officials dealing with the grid project claim the project will take more than a decade to cover the entire city. According to a senior official, the first sub-division (covering DLF phases) of Phase 1 of the project will take at least four years to complete, if started by end of this year. The project is divided into three phases.
On July 11, Khattar had announced in Delhi that the project will ensure no generator sets are used in the city. He had also said that the project will put an end to the role of private builders and colonizers in supplying power.
The first phase of the project is divided into four sub-divisions and only the process for the first sub-division has been initiated so far.
As per the estimates by the electricity department, nearly 20% of the city’s electricity load is borne by diesel gensets due to power outages.
According to a senior official of the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, the city produces around 140 MW of power through diesel generators on an average every day.
A recently published report in India’s Real Estate Forum estimated that the city consumes nearly 3.5 lakh litres diesel to produce power every hour during power outages. That amounts to fuel worth nearly Rs 1.93 crore.
The upscale condominium Hamilton Court in DLF Phase 4 consumes more than 3,500 litres of diesel per day while consumption of diesel in gensets touches about 4,500 litres every day in Galleria market.
About 1,100 high-rise buildings and majority of residents’ welfare associations have power back-up through diesel guzzler generator sets. Power through diesel generator sets costs between Rs 12 and Rs 15 while tariff of power from DHBVN ranges between Rs 6.50 to Rs 8.50 per unit.
“Diesel gensets provide some relief to owners but pollute air for others,” said SK Sharma, president DLF Phase 3 federation.
Bhupinder Singh, the district pollution officer says carbon emissions in Gurgaon are high mainly because of the use of diesel fuel for power backup.
“Diesel plays a major role in polluting air, it emits carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter, all very harmful for the environment,” said Singh.
As per international norms, clean diesel should contain only 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur. A study conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) sad that the cleanest variety of diesel fuel in Gurgaon contains 50 ppm sulphur, which is above the safety limit.
Superintending engineer (smart grid) Sudhir Chhabra said work on first sub-division would start as soon as the tender process is completed but covering the entire city would take a long time.