Plan to combat pollution in Gurugram to come into effect from October 1
The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas issued the revised Grap for the national capital region of Delhi after directions from Supreme Court in December 2021 to invite suggestions from experts and the general public to find a solution to pollution issues
Starting October 1, residents will not be able to use diesel generator (DG) sets in the national capital region, except in common areas or to operate lifts in condominiums, as the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB)’s Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) to combat bad air in the region kicks in, officials said Thursday.
Officials added that DG sets can only be used for essential services such as the running of hospitals, medical equipment, military-related issues, and railway stations while Grap is in force in the region.
P Raghavendra Rao, chairman, HSPCB, issued these directions during a virtual meeting with the pollution body’s officials, noting that all deputy commissioners and civic agencies have been asked to adopt measures to ensure strict implementation of the plan.
“The Haryana pollution control board is working in tandem with the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to prevent air pollution in the entire region. We are hopeful that all civic agencies will be able to control pollution in the NCR and other parts of the state by following recommended steps,” Rao said.
The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas issued the revised Grap for the national capital region of Delhi after directions from Supreme Court in December 2021 to invite suggestions from experts and the general public to find a solution to pollution issues. The CAQM then revised the Grap in compliance with the directions after getting suggestions from the expert group.
Rao added that this year’s revised Grap will be implemented in four different stages based on Air Quality Index (AQI) level---if the region’s AQI reading is above 200, air quality will be categorised as ‘poor’, if the reading is above 300, air quality will be categorised as ‘very poor’, if the reading is above 400, air quality will be categorised as ‘severe’, and above 450 air quality will be categorised as ‘very severe’.
In accordance with directives issued by the CAQM, there will be a complete ban on the use of diesel gen-sets from October 1, Rao iterated. “DG sets can be used for two hours if it has both a Retrofit Emission Control Device (RECD, which controls exhaust emissions and particulate matter) and dual-fuel capacity (those that can run on two different fuels). DG sets with only RECD can be used for only an hour a day. We have also asked the power utilities to ensure unhindered power supply for industrial and domestic use. Condominiums can use generators only to operate lifts and escalators and light common areas. However, they should not misuse the exception to supply power for domestic consumption,” he said.
The Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN), meanwhile, said that it is prepared to supply uninterrupted power to both industrial and domestic consumers. “The situation this year is likely to be better as most developers have installed the required electricity Infrastructure. The utility has also set up adequate infrastructure to supply power in new Gurugram,” PC Meena, managing director, DHBVN, said. Meena also said that he had asked officials to resolve all pending customer grievances by September 30.
Last year, DHBVN submitted a report to Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (Epca) which identified 26 projects that either did not have a regular power connection or had lesser load than required. They said that these projects would be affected the most by the generator ban. According to the power utility, most condominiums have installed the requisite infrastructure this year, with four to five projects which are still in the process of meeting the requirements.
According to the board chairman, there will be an emphasis on ensuring industrial units operate on clean fuel. “Industries with PNG supply will use the gas while those without connections are required to use biomass as fuel. Where there is no gas pipeline and biomass is also not available, units can use coal for the next three months. However such units will have to mandatorily switch over to gas from January 1, 2023,” he said.
HSPCB also asked traffic police to ensure that all vehicles comply with pollution norms and carry a valid certificate. “Municipal officials have been asked to ensure proper waste management and no garbage burning. Mechanical sweeping of roads and sprinkling of water should be done regularly to prevent dust pollution,” Rao added.
State government and district administration officials will get forecasts on air quality from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology three days in advance so that “actions for mitigation of pollution can be based on this advanced information,” he added. Rao asked the Gurugram deputy commissioner to ensure that coal is not used in hotels and dhabas, and to constitute monitoring teams for night patrolling and surprise checks.