AS Bist , who worked at the plant says Tuberculosis (TB) was common among workers at Badarpur plant.(Ravi Choudhary/HT File)
AS Bist , who worked at the plant says Tuberculosis (TB) was common among workers at Badarpur plant.(Ravi Choudhary/HT File)

Badarpur power plant pumping toxins into Delhi’s air

Delhi pollution: At any given time when the plant is in operation, the noise (Leq value) from BTPS fluctuates from 71 to 87 decibel, whereas, the permissible standard is 55 decibel during the day time and 45 decibel during the night.
By Sweta Goswami | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2017 11:02 AM IST

New Delhi

Meena Devi (53) compulsively sweeps her house and terrace once every two hours. It’s a habit she has developed over 25 years, living in the DDA flats that share boundary with the Badarpur Thermal Power Station (BTPS).

“Flyash is a big problem here. You’ll see a layer of grey dust on everything even if you have swept and dusted just a few hours back,” she said.

The story has been the same for thousands of residents in Janta apartments, Molarband and Madanpur Khadar that surround the coal-based power plant. A number of people whom HT interviewed said this had been the best winter for them as the plant was shut in November and opened only this week.

Living with noise

“We can’t talk face-to-face as the noise from the boilers or steam generators overpowers everything. The sound is so loud that one cannot even hear the band playing at weddings in our colony,” said HS Bhati, president of Badarpur Janta Houses Welfare Association.

Read: Delhi pays huge price for power from pollution-heavy Badarpur plant

At any given time when the plant is in operation, the noise (Leq value) from BTPS fluctuates from 71 to 87 decibel, whereas, the permissible standard is 55 decibel during the day time and 45 decibel during the night.

“Sleeping becomes difficult because of the ear splitting noise. This happens whenever they run the turbines. Sometimes it would go on for 3-4 hours. Much has been talked about air pollution that the plant causes, but nobody seems to discuss the issue of noise pollution here,” said DC Dey, a resident of the area.

A living hell for plant workers

Recalling the days he worked at the plant, AS Bisht (73) said, “We would get coupons of Rs 200 or so at the end of each month to buy jaggery from Kendriya Bhandar located within the plant premises.”

As per Ayurveda, jaggery helps to cleanse the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach and intestines. But, doctors say the sweet made out of sugarcane can hardly improve the condition of workers who are directly exposed to over a hundred tonne of flyash and dust on a daily basis.

Read: Delhi’s air quality still poor, Badarpur plant to remain shut for now

Flyash are particles that are either smaller or equal to 2.5 micrometers in their aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5). The smaller the particle suspended in the air, the greater the health risks.

“Tuberculosis (TB) was common among workers at Badarpur plant. We treated asthma and bronchitis like one would treat common cold. Many had developed complications in kidneys,” Bisht added.

Fly ash contains significant amounts of silica that can lodge in the lungs and cause silicosis, or scarring of the lung tissue, which can result in a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. Chronic exposure can result in fever, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and cyanosis (blue skin). In addition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that silica causes lung cancer in humans.

Over the years, the plant has become an under performer with three of its five units permanently shut. “Since power generation from this plant has come down, NTPC is keeping only contractual workers for its basic operations. Hundreds of staff quarters inside the plant premises are lying vacant as very few are required to work when it is operational,” said Sohan Singh, a contractor at BTPS.

Problem of flyash

When operational, the 705 MW plant produces a mammoth 3,500 metric tonnes of flyash every month, reports from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) indicate. This means about 117 metric tonnes of flyash, a key component of the hazardous PM 2.5 or fine particulate matter causing air pollution, is released from BTPS on a daily basis.

The plant is spread across 2,160 acres of land within the national capital out of which 1,680 acres is used only to dump flyash which is a by-product of thermal electricity generation.

DPCC reports accessed by HT revealed that as of 2016, the pond near the plant had a staggering 25.7 million metric tonnes of flyash dumped at any given point of time. This is equivalent to having as many as 81 Taj Mahals made out of fly ash.

Murari Lal, a loco pilot with the Indian Railways who has been living near BTPS for 15 years, complained that clothes couldn’t be dried outside as a thin layer of grey dust covers all of it.

“Not just that, most of us suffer bouts of coughing in the morning and black sputum comes out. I feel guilty for letting my children grow up in such an environment. Even relatives stopped visiting us. We just own one house and have no option but to live here,” he said.

Read: Breathless in Delhi | Check air quality at different areas in Delhi

According to a report by IIT Kanpur, coal-based power plants operating in Delhi, which as of now is only the Badarpur one, are major contributors to the pollution load in Delhi. Coal-based plants alone have contributed 11% of the capital’s PM 2.5 load.

During summer months, coal and flyash contribute 26% of PM 2.5 and during winter months, secondary particles, including vehicular emissions and power plants, contribute 30% of PM 2.5.

Fly ash also contains toxic metals such as arsenic, mercury, chromium including the highly carcinogenic chromium IV, lead, uranium and so on. It increases health risks from inhalation, can trigger immunological reactions, heart diseases and inflammation.

Gaseous pollutants

What’s worse is that gaseous pollutants like nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxde (SO2) that are also emitted from the plant were never accounted for in all these years.

“The national norms just did not have any prescribed limit stated for NOx and SO2 emissions whereas, studies as recent as the one by IIT Kanpur have stated that 52% of the Nitrogen Oxide (Nox) load of Delhi is being contributed by the power plants,” Sunita Narain, director, Centre for Science and Environment and member of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA). It was only in December, 2015 that the Centre notified prescribed norms for the two dangerous pollutants.

Breathless in Delhi, complete coverage

Emission reports compiled by the state pollution control body reflect that while the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) which runs the plant has been able to keep particulate emissions within the permissible limit, it has not been able to curb its gaseous emissions.

For example, SO2 emissions which cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or a tight feeling around the chest has frequently been more than double of the permissible standard.

NTPC’s stand

The NTPC, however, said that it is following all the norms prescribed by the government and denied its emissions have crossed the standards. “As directed, we had shut operations of the entire plant owing to pollution. Besides, we have also installed pollution control devices at two units because of which particulate matter emissions have come down,” said Deepna Mehta, NTPC spokesperson.

On the issue of fly ash she said that in the last few years, the total ash utilisation of the plant has been 100%. “The ash is being used in building the Delhi-Agra Highway and for ash-brick manufacturing,” Mehta added.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The list is topped by Odisha, which has 23 contaminated sites, followed by Uttar Pradesh, with 21 such sites in the state and Delhi, which has 11.
The list is topped by Odisha, which has 23 contaminated sites, followed by Uttar Pradesh, with 21 such sites in the state and Delhi, which has 11.

Delhi among top 3 states with most ‘contaminated sites’

By Soumya Pillai, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:47 AM IST
  • The CPCB report released on Sunday said that there are over 112 sites in India that are contaminated by toxic and hazardous substances.
Close
260 patients were reported as recovered on Sunday, taking the total recoveries to 628,377 at a recovery rate of 98.01 per cent, according to data.(ANI)
260 patients were reported as recovered on Sunday, taking the total recoveries to 628,377 at a recovery rate of 98.01 per cent, according to data.(ANI)

Pandemic phase of Covid-19 is over: Jain

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:35 AM IST
  • An infection is said to be endemic in a population when it is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area.
Close
The AAP is in charge of Delhi government, the BJP rules all three municipal corporations. Delhi goes to municipal polls in 2022.(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)
The AAP is in charge of Delhi government, the BJP rules all three municipal corporations. Delhi goes to municipal polls in 2022.(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

AAP smells a scam in Rani Jhansi flyover delay; baseless, charge, says BJP

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:32 AM IST
  • The BJP dismissed the allegations as “baseless” and hit back, saying that the AAP should answer why the construction of the Signature bridge in north-east Delhi faced delays.
Close
In the 2021-22 budget, the government is likely to further increase the total outlay, said the senior government official.(AFP)
In the 2021-22 budget, the government is likely to further increase the total outlay, said the senior government official.(AFP)

Shots will stay free at all Delhi govt hospitals

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:29 AM IST
  • Appropriate allocation of funds in this regard will be made in the upcoming Delhi budget that is likely to be presented this week, he added .
Close
Soon, Vats, a mechanical engineer by training, got down to the drawing board.
Soon, Vats, a mechanical engineer by training, got down to the drawing board.

Indian water gun manufacturers giving China a run for its money

By Manoj Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:23 AM IST
  • In February that year, just before Holi, he went back to the Sadar Bazar trader with the water gun he had produced and also the Chinese one.
Close
They said with the onset of summer, the department is also working on increasing the availability of water through natural channels in the Ridge for animals.
They said with the onset of summer, the department is also working on increasing the availability of water through natural channels in the Ridge for animals.

Animal-friendly Ridge with no barbed fences

By Soumya Pillai, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:11 AM IST
  • Experts said such initiatives will ensure that the only continuous green space in the national capital is preserved.
Close
Nine of these women, who delivered their babies in the police vehicles, have been invited to attend an event to celebrate International Women’s Day at the police headquarters on Monday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)
Nine of these women, who delivered their babies in the police vehicles, have been invited to attend an event to celebrate International Women’s Day at the police headquarters on Monday.(Sanjeev Verma/HT File Photo)

9 who delivered babies in PCR vans to attend Women’s Day at Delhi police HQ

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:08 AM IST
  • A host of functions to honour women have also been scheduled at different police stations and DCP offices.
Close
Municipal polls are scheduled to be held in Delhi next year. In the bypolls to five wards, results of which were announced on March 2, the BJP could not manage to win a single seat.
Municipal polls are scheduled to be held in Delhi next year. In the bypolls to five wards, results of which were announced on March 2, the BJP could not manage to win a single seat.

BJP plans new campaign to take on AAP after bypoll loss

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 02:00 AM IST
  • Adesh Gupta has also started ‘mandal pravas’ (stay in each municipal wards) to connect with the party workers and supporters.
Close
Through Saturday-Sunday night, DMRC managing director, Mangu Singh inspected the revamped stations and also assessed the progress of work in other stations.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)
Through Saturday-Sunday night, DMRC managing director, Mangu Singh inspected the revamped stations and also assessed the progress of work in other stations.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

Stations on Metro’s Red line revamped

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:57 AM IST
  • As part of the revamp, new CCTV cameras, with better technology for improved clarity, additional escalators, bird spikes to prevent tripping of the overhead electrification (OHE) due to bird menace, were also installed.
Close
DSGMC members said patients will only have to get necessary documents. A team of specialists will monitor the patients at the facility.
DSGMC members said patients will only have to get necessary documents. A team of specialists will monitor the patients at the facility.

Gurdwara body starts dialysis hub

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:50 AM IST
  • The Panth Ratan Baba Harban Singh Ji Dialysis block in Bala Sahib hospital complex started treating patients from Sunday.
Close
The third grave—also of a mystic—lies in an almost-invisible corner, in a narrow gallery just by the entrance.
The third grave—also of a mystic—lies in an almost-invisible corner, in a narrow gallery just by the entrance.

Delhiwale: The shrine’s best-kept secret

By Mayank Austen Soofi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 01:15 AM IST
  • Whatever, the two ascetics are buried next to each other, separated by a neem tree. For that reason, many consider the landmark as a twin shrine.
Close
In this file picture from 2013, people gather at L - 18 Batla House after the verdict on encounter done by Delhi Police in September 2008, in New Delhi. (Mohd Zakir / Hindustan Times)
In this file picture from 2013, people gather at L - 18 Batla House after the verdict on encounter done by Delhi Police in September 2008, in New Delhi. (Mohd Zakir / Hindustan Times)

Batla House encounter: Delhi court to pronounce judgment tomorrow

ANI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:22 PM IST
The court will pass judgment in the case of Ariz Khan, who was arrested in February 2018. Khan was arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police after a decade of allegedly being on the run.
Close
A view inside the 101-bed kidney dialysis facility at Bala Sahib Hospital Complex launched by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, at Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)
A view inside the 101-bed kidney dialysis facility at Bala Sahib Hospital Complex launched by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee, at Sarai Kale Khan in New Delhi. (Amal KS/ Hindustan Times)

DSGMC launches 'India's biggest' dialysis facility inside Gurudwara Bangla Sahib

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:20 PM IST
Guru Harkishan Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Kidney Dialysis Hospital will offer dialysis facility to 101 patients simultaneously and it can cater to 500 patients daily
Close
A senior police official said cops raided a restaurant-cum-bar in west Delhi's Rajouri Garden. (Representational Image)
A senior police official said cops raided a restaurant-cum-bar in west Delhi's Rajouri Garden. (Representational Image)

Delhi Police seizes hukkas from restaurant, tweets 'pawri nahi ho rahi hai'

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 10:12 PM IST
From his official handle on Twitter, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Prashant Gautam said, "Yehe Hum hain..Yehe Hooke Hain.. Aur ab Pawri nahi ho rahi hai.
Close
People out at India Gate lawns in the morning in New Delhi amid smog on Sunday. (Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
People out at India Gate lawns in the morning in New Delhi amid smog on Sunday. (Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)

Delhi records maximum temperature at 34 degrees Celsius, air quality poor

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 09:37 PM IST
The minimum temperature in the city settled at 14.4 degrees Celsius while the air quality was recorded in the poor category.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP