The Gautam Budh Nagar administration has directed all industrial units in Noida to switch to piped natural gas by March 31 or face closure, stepping up efforts to clean up the deteriorating air quality over the district.
However, the move may run into rough weather with industrialists expressing skepticism owing to huge costs involved.
Officials said that most of the industries in Noida – adjoining Delhi but geographically in Uttar Pradesh – use petrochemicals as fuel which is adds to air pollution in the region.
The move came barely a few days after the Delhi government introduced a radical road rationing scheme, allowing odd or even number vehicles to ply on alternate days, one of the several measures adopted in view of growing air pollution in the capital city.
As per rough estimates, there are nearly 8,000 industrial units running in Noida and more than 450 in Greater Noida.
As of now, only 330 industrial units are running on piped natural gas (PNG) in the district.
“We have told them to replace the existing petrochemical-based fuel with PNG by March 31 or face action. A meeting was also held with the representatives of Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) who conveyed that PNG could be made available to an applicant within 20 days,” said NP Singh, district magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar.
The IGL spokesperson was also positive about their preparedness to meet the demand.
“Our network in major industrial areas across the district is already in place. It will not take us much of time to supply PNG to an applicant,” he added.
However, industrialists do not seem to be ready to oblige due to the cost factor involved in the switch over.
“We are for cleaner Noida but everything cannot be done in one go. Switching over to PNG would incur a liability of lakhs of rupees on each industry which most of us find unaffordable. It will not be possible for us to go for PNG,” said Vipin Malhan, president, Noida Entrepreneurs’ Association.
In another development, the state home department on Monday directed police to improve traffic management in Noida, Ghaziabad and Lucknow within one week.
Inspector general of police (Lucknow zone) Zaki Ahmed and IG (Meerut zone) Alok Sharma have been given the responsibility to streamline the movement of traffic in the three cities.
Traffic jams in the three cities especially Noida are notorious during the peak morning and evening hours with vehicles moving at snail’s pace through the major arteries.
(With inputs from HTC, Lucknow)