The Maharashtra cabinet on Tuesday approved a fly ash utilisation policy to use the product as a resource by mandating its use in government infrastructure works, aiming to dispose of the entire quantity of fly ash produced in the state without causing environment and health hazards.
Besides, the state government has also made it mandatory for all companies and developers located in a radius of 300 kilometres from a power plant to use fly ash in construction, effectively covering the whole state, an official from the state energy department said. Earlier, use of fly ash in construction was compulsory in a radius of 100 kilometres.
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 harmful to health and environment. It can, however, be used by the construction industry in making concrete and bricks. The state produces three million tonne of fly ash every year, of which only about 60 percent is used, while the rest is dumped, increasing pollution.
“It has been made mandatory for the use of fly ash in government projects such as construction of roads, dams, housing schemes, industrial townships, special economic zones. This will also control sand mining from rivers. Wherever it is compulsory to use fly ash, the contractor will have to produce a certificate stating that a power generation company has supplied fly ash before his dues are settled,” an official from the state energy department said.
A new fly ash council under the chief secretary will monitor the policy’s implementation. The council will also comprise representatives from the energy department, power plants, technical experts and firms using fly ash in construction.