Use of diesel generators to be banned around NCR from Oct 15
The ban will, however, exclude emergency services such as hospitals, and will also allow condominiums to run DG sets during power outages only for operation of elevators.Updated: Oct 09, 2019 06:37 IST
The use of diesel generators in Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat and Panipat will be banned from October 15, along with the deployment of other measures, as per the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), to ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ air quality. These directives were issued at a meeting convened by the Supreme Court-appointed Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Monday.
The ban will, however, exclude emergency services such as hospitals, and will also allow condominiums to run DG sets during power outages only for operation of elevators.
This will be the first time that a blanket ban on diesel generators (DG) has been announced in Gurugram during the winter pollution cycle. In the previous years, areas outside Delhi were exempted from the ban (which was first implemented in 2017) on account of poor power supply infrastructure. “This year, however, no such concession will be given. We have provided the state governments enough time to improve their power supply situation,” said Bhure Lal, chairman, EPCA.
Lal also said that the ban is imperative for lowering air pollution in Delhi, as the trans-boundary movement of pollutants from Gurugram and Faridabad has been found to adversely impact air quality in the capital. In Delhi, the ban is expected to last till March 15, when the GRAP is lifted. “For NCR towns, we will review the situation and decide when to lift the ban,” Lal said.
Amit Khatri, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said, “The ban will be enforced as directed. I do not foresee any issues with regard to the power supply.”
The move, however, has sparked concern among residents, who said that the existing power supply infrastructure is poor and unreliable. Officials of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) said that implementing the ban will be a challenge, given Gurugram’s heavy reliance on DG sets.
An HSPCB official, who attended the meeting on Monday, said, “We will comply with the directions, but it will be challenging to enforce the ban. Many commercial establishments, residential societies and condominiums rely on DG sets in the absence of proper power supply. We also do not have concrete data on the exact numbers of residential DG sets operating in a given area, as they do not fall within our purview. Identifying them will be a logistical challenge.”
According to the response from the office of the electrical inspectorate to an RTI query in 2017, there are at least 10,552 DG sets in the city, in at least 3,000 commercial and residential entities, after obtaining necessary certificates.
Activists said this figure would only have increased in the two years since, and also these do not take into account the presence of unauthorised DGs. Vivek Kamboj, environmentalist and founder of the Haryali Welfare Society, an NGO, said, “Diesel gensets are the go-to power source for a society that is power deprived. Even if there is a ban, people will continue to use them, which will lead to widespread environmental degradation.”
Diesel generators are known to emit large quantities of sulphur oxides and particulate matter, which lead to the formation of secondary aerosols, particularly polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) — a carcinogen formed as a direct consequence of diesel combustion.
Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, Gurugram, said, “We have constituted teams to keep a check on waste burning and unlawful construction activities, as part of the early GRAP deployment. These teams will also enforce the ban on DG sets. Violators will be penalised and prosecuted accordingly.”
Niranjan Raje, a Gurugram resident and former member of EPCA, however, believes that the ban is not implementable in NCR towns, where residents have to contend with power outages on a daily basis.
Referring to the ban as “one-sided,” Raje said, “It creates accountability for the HSPCB and the district administration, but you have to also hold the power companies responsible as well. There must be some clause which states that, in the event of power faults, they will have to fix it within a short period of time.” Sanjeev Chopra, chief engineer, DHBVN, did not respond to calls and requests for comment.
First Published: Oct 08, 2019 20:51 IST