Gurugram may escape Epca’s diesel generator ban yet again
While the ban has not been rescinded, Epca chairman, Bhure Lal, wrote to the Trilok Gupta, additional chief secretary (power), seeking a detailed road map to resolve the situation.Updated: Oct 16, 2020, 04:05 IST
In an indication that Haryana’s NCR districts may be exempted from the ban on diesel generator sets, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (Epca) on Thursday sought a “detailed and comprehensive affidavit” from the state government on power supply to societies still reliant on diesel gensets.
While the ban has not been rescinded, Epca chairman, Bhure Lal, wrote to the Trilok Gupta, additional chief secretary (power), seeking a detailed road map to resolve the situation.
If granted, this would be the fourth consecutive year that Gurugram, Faridabad and other NCR districts have been exempted from the purview of the Graded Response Action Plan’s (Grap) clause against the use of diesel generator (DG) sets throughout winter, from October 15 to March 15.
In the letter, a copy of which is with HT, Lal said, “Last year an affidavit was given... confirming that all colonies will be connected to power grids before the onset of winter 2020... it was not done. In this circumstance it will be very difficult for EPCA to grant further extension.”
Epca has, however, asked Haryana to submit a comprehensive plan for resolution of the situation, which would “lay down strict schedules for the colonies which are partially or fully dependent on DG.”
Epca further stated that the schedules for these colonies must be staggered to ensure compliance of the action plan, during critical winter months. “The affidavits must be signed by the government, representatives of the colonies and builders. Only then will EPCA be in a position to consider any relaxation,” Lal’s letter states.
A spokesperson for Epca clarified that the ongoing ban on diesel generators has in no way been lifted or relaxed yet. “Until the state government has submitted its affidavit, the ban must be enforced as ordered,” the official said.
Trilok Gupta, additional chief secretary (power), could not be contacted despite multiple attempts on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) had submitted a status report to the Epca, stating that around 26 projects in Gurugram, which either don’t have regular connections or had a lesser-than-required load, would be majorly affected by the genset ban.
Officials said that there are around 60 more projects that would be partially impacted by the ban as they depend on standby power from generators, but the impact would be minimal.
KC Agarwal, chief engineer, DHBVN, Gurugram, said that power availability is adequate and field teams have been deployed to correct faults. “We are working to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all licensed colonies. However, in many instances, we are unable to provide permanent connections because the required infrastructure has bot been installed by private developers,” he said.
A superintending engineer with the DHBVN in Gururgam, requesting anonymity, explained, “The problem is not with availability, but with infrastructure. If you see the condition of sub-stations and power lines, even in developed colonies, they are not adequate to handle the required load, which is why power outages keep happening.”
Niranjan Raje, a Gurugram resident and former member of the Epca, said that a blanket ban on diesel gensets is unfeasible without a major overhaul of the city’s power infrastructure. “While some progress has been made through the Smart Grid scheme, several colonies still don’t have a choice but to use DG sets. Even so, while the power department does the needful, pollution control devices to reduce emissions from DG sets can be used by operators. Or, DG sets in colonies where there is no power supply can also be switched to natural gas instead of diesel. There are options if authorities want to consider them.”