‘Poor power supply no excuse to run gensets’: NGT to Haryana discom
The Haryana government had on Tuesday requested Epca to exempt certain residential and commercial areas of Gurugram from the ban on diesel generators.Updated: Oct 18, 2019 10:00 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday dismissed a petition by the Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (DHBVN) seeking relief from the ban on diesel generators that was announced by the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (Epca) as part of emegency action under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
The Haryana government had on Tuesday requested Epca to exempt certain residential and commercial areas of Gurugram from the ban on diesel generators. Officials said that these areas, particularly Sector 58 and beyond, do not have a regular power supply.
Till last year, the ban on diesel gensets was applicable only in Delhi, since NCR towns faced frequent power cuts that impacted essential utilities, such as elevators in high rises. This year, however, the ban has been applied in Delhi’s vicinity towns of Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad, Gurugram, Sonepat, Panipat and Bahadurgarh as well.
The green court bench said impugned action is an undoubted need for protection of environment and public health and the DHBVN’s inability to provide uninterrupted power supply could not be an excuse to allow DG sets to run.
“If the DHBVN cannot supply electricity 24x7 as per the Epca order, it is for them to find out ways and means within the purview of law. This cannot be ground to use DG sets in violation of air quality protection norms. Citizens are entitled to breathe in fresh air,” the bench said, while dismissing the petition.
The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) issued notice to the DHBVN — the power distribution agency in the state — and heads of various other government departments on October 11 asking for action in compliance with the Epca’s October 9 directions. The DHBVN had moved the NGT against the notice.
“The grievance of DHBVN is that while it is under obligation to distribute electricity, there are limitations due to technical non-feasibility. This makes it a compulsion to use DG sets. The appellant (DHBVN) made a representation placing this difficulty for consideration by the HSPCB and a copy of which has been marked to Epca,” the NGT order said.
The bench said the Graded Response Action Plan has been duly notified under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and is binding. It added that the order to not allow DGs to run was merely enforcing GRAP measures, so there is no illegality therein.
“This measure will require coordinating with the state electricity boards and they must ensure special efforts for 24x7 electricity supply in these cities to avoid requirement of operating DG sets and inconvenience to public,” the Epca order of October 9 said.
The DHBVN said it will follow the direction of Epca and the NGT. “We are working in this regard since the matter pertains to air pollution,” said Sanjiv Chopra, DHBVN chief engineer.
Separate agencies are scheduled to meet Epca members on Friday to discuss the diesel gensets ban.