Pollution body to meet Delhi’s 3 neighbours after concerns raised over ban on diesel gensets

Air quality is in the ‘poor’ range in the city. It is expected to remain poor over the next few days. (Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The final decision on the ban on diesel generator sets in parts of Delhi-NCR will only be taken Friday, after Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) holds a meeting with officials from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Till then, the ban will be in place. The development comes after the Haryana power secretary told the Supreme Court-mandated body that a ban on diesel generator sets in Gurgaon and Faridabad will have a “scaling and massive impact on supply of power to lakhs of consumers”.

EPCA had ordered a ban on diesel generator sets in Delhi and vicinity towns such as Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad effective Tuesday as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to combat air pollution. A number of restrictive measures identified under GRAP for ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ air quality categories have been taken.

But the Haryana power secretary wrote to EPCA on October 11 that deficiencies of Rs 1,000 crore have been recorded in the existing electrical infrastructure in residential and commercial areas developed by builders in Gurgaon, who were responsible for making power supply arrangements for occupants but failed to do so.

EPCA has now called a meeting with heads of the power and urban development departments from the three states on Friday to discuss the “difficulty to comply” with banning use of diesel generator sets to control deteriorating air quality.

EPCA chairman Bhure Lal, in a notice sent to the three states Tuesday, said: “It has been brought to (our attention) that a large number of residential sectors, colonies, malls and commercial establishments were given occupancy certificates without connecting them to regular power supply. Mainly these questions are being raised from such establishments and state governments.”

Principal secretaries of the power and urban development departments of Haryana, UP and Rajasthan have been asked to furnish details of power supply in NCR towns under their jurisdiction. This includes details of DG sets used in residential and commercial areas.

Exceptions have been made to the ban on the use of DG sets for emergency services when there is a power outage. This covers hospitals and medical facilities, running of elevators, and use of lifts in housing societies, among others.

EPCA member Sunita Narain said that until discussions are held with authorities from the three states, direction for banning the use of DG sets would be followed. This could result in a blackout in areas not connected with regular power supply.

Authorities implementing GRAP would file weekly compliance reports on how the plan is being followed in their areas.

Measures including intensifying public transport, increasing frequency of mechanised sweeping, closing brick kilns not using the zig-zag technology and enhancing parking fees have been recommended in the GRAP.

What happens under GRAP

Category: ‘Very poor’
Air quality Measure: PM 2.5 between 121-250 µg/m3 or PM 10 between 351-430 µg/m3

Mitigation steps recommended
* Stop use of DG sets
* Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times. Increase bus, Metro services by augmenting contract buses; increasing frequency of service
* Alert in newspapers/ TV/ radio to advise people with respiratory, cardiac issues to avoid polluted areas