The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has ordered the closure of all industries in Delhi-NCR which have not shifted to Piped Natural Gas despite its availability.The country’s apex pollution control body, in a letter earlier this month, directed the state pollution control boards of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to crackdown on such industries and submit an action taken report within two weeks. The CPCB has also warned that if the state boards failed to submit the report within the stipulated time, they will be prosecuted. “You are hereby directed to issue closure directions to all industrial units in Delhi-NCR, where PNG supply is available and industry has not shifted to PNG. Actions taken report shall be submitted to CPCB within 15 days.....In case, action taken report is not provided within time, CPCB shall be compelled to prosecute the state pollution control board,” stated the letter, which was sent to the state boards of Delhi-NCR on July 2. The shift to cleaner fuels becomes necessary after a study released by ARAI and TERI in 2018 found that at least 27-30% of Delhi’s pollution load came from industries. A task force headed by the CPCB had to shut down industrial activities during the 2018 winter when pollution levels touched severe plus levels. Earlier, allegations had surfaced that the industries used almost everything from rubber to plastic as fuel, triggering heavy pollution. The Supreme Court-appointed body Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has also been pushing for PNG since last year. In September 2018, Anil Baijal, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, had directed the Delhi Pollution and Control Committee to speed up the process of fuel conversion to PNG in industrial areas.The CPCB’s letter, however, revealed that in spite of availability of PNG supply “a large number of industries have not switched their operations to PNG.” In Delhi, however, most of the industrial units have either shifted to the cleaner fuel or are in the process of shifting. “Out of the 1,300-odd industrial units, which DPCC had identified for shifting to PNG, around 1,250 have applied for shifting to PNG so far. Out of this, 900 have already shifted to PNG. Another 200 are in the process because PNG-pipelines have already reached their door steps and DPCC have asked the units to start using the gas,” said a senior official of the DPCC. The DPCC official said there are three industrial zones where pipelines are yet to be installed. At least 40 industrial units are located in these clusters. Meetings have already been held with a gas company and pipelines in these areas will be installed soon.