Coal Power Plants Get Extra Life, 12 Of Them May Impact Public Health In City | Delhi News

New Delhi: With the central government extending the deadline for coal-based power plants near Delhi-NCR to install pollution control devices, like fuel gas desulphurisation (FGDs), from this year-end to December 2024 and 2026, experts point out that there are 12 such plants that have the potential to hamper public health in Delhi.
Currently, there are 11 coal-based plants comprising 33 units within a 300km radius of Delhi-NCR, while a twelfth power plant at Goindwal Sahib in Punjab with two units is just a few kilometres outside the 300km radius. As of now, out of 35 units, only six have installed FGDs since the 2015 notification of emission standard norms, leaving 29 units without any measures to control the emission of sulphur dioxide.
Out of 35 units, 12 units of four plants (Indira Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi, Panipat and Yamuna Nagar) are in Haryana, 15 units of five plants (Goindwal Sahib, Rajpura, Talwandi Sabo, Ropar and Guru Hargobind) are in Punjab. Eight units of two plants (Dadri and Harduaganj) are in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the new order released on September 5, the compliance date for 14 out of 35 units has been extended to December 2024, while the remaining have to comply by December 2026.
An analysis by Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) pointed out, “In 2015, all units were supposed to meet the norms by 2017. This was later extended to December 2019. But only two units of Mahatma Gandhi power station in Haryana could comply with the new timeline after the first extension. All other plants, except Mahatma Gandhi and four units of Dadri plant, were in non-compliance in 2020 and were fined by Central Pollution Control Board. This was challenged by the power plants in Supreme Court and the fine was stayed.”
“With the stay on fines, all plants in Delhi-NCR were in non-compliance till October 2020 when a new extension in the timeline was given by CPCB. The plants got time from February 2021 to December 2022 to comply with the norms, as notified by the Union environment ministry,” added the analysis.
After no satisfactory progress was seen, extension was granted in March 2021. The plants were divided into three categories (A, B and C) with a staggered timeline of 2022, 2023 and 2024. “Five plants were shut last winter after recognising their impact on pollution and public health. Ironically, the same stations have been granted extensions after extensions,” said Sunil Dahiya, analyst, CREA.

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