New Delhi, Oct 15 (PTI) Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Thursday said he will ask the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and a Supreme Court-mandated pollution control authority to shut the 11 coal-fired power plants operating within 300 kilometres of Delhi within a week.
Rai said the Delhi government has been making all efforts to bring pollution levels down, 'but we become helpless when pollution from neighbouring states affects the city's air quality'.
A layer of haze hung over Delhi and its neighbouring areas on Thursday and the air quality slipped to 'very poor' levels. Delhi recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 315 at 11:10 am. The last time the air quality hit such a poor level was in February.
Rai said, 'I am going to write a letter to the CPCB and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, asking them to shut these power plants within seven days till the situation improves.' The minister said authorities are considering granting extension to these power plants to meet the new emission norms, instead of shutting them.
The 11 power plants have missed two deadlines to install flue-gas desulphurisation units to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions. The CPCB had earlier set the deadline as December 2017 to meet the emission standards. It was later extended by two years to December 31, 2019.
'The CPCB recently said these power plant can operate if they pay a fine of Rs 18 lakh a month. How can they allow them to run? How can you play with people's lives?' Rai asked. PTI GVS SMN SMN