New Delhi, Oct 14 (PTI) Delhi minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said he has written to Union power minister R K Singh seeking closure of 11 thermal power stations near the national capital, which contribute majorly to pollution in the city and its neighbouring areas.
Interacting with reporters here, he also asserted that the Delhi government is serious about tackling the issue of pollution and, thus, all thermal power plants in the city have been closed in the last few years.
Asserting that stubble burning and power plants are the biggest contributors to the harmful quality of air in Delhi, Jain said the city has alternative sources to generate power and 'there is no lack of it even during the peak hours, so these thermal plants can be closed as it will not lead to reduction of power supply'.
'Thermal power stations are a major contributing factor in causing pollution in Delhi and neighbouring areas. We have closed all such stations as curbing pollution is high on our priority. And, we have written to the Union power minister, seeking closing of polluting thermal power stations around the national capital,' he said.
Jain, who holds the portfolios of both health and power departments, said there are 13 such thermal power stations out of which two were earlier closed.
He said in 2015, orders were passed to shut these thermal power stations within two years which was later revised to 2019 by the Central government.
The Delhi government in order to reduce pollution had closed the Indraprastha station in 2009, followed by the Rajghat station in 2015 and the Badarpur thermal power plant in 2018, he said, adding, it is the only state where there is no operational thermal power station.
The Delhi minister alleged that despite the Supreme Court order, the Central government intends to 'relax norms' to allow thermal power plants two more years of time.
In the letter, Jain claimed that 'the Centre is considering deferring the deadline by two more years for thermal power plants to comply with norms to reduce air pollution'.
Queries sent to the Union Power Ministry did not elicit any response.
Jain said 'closure of these 11 power plants that are still functioning will definitely create a difference in the pollution situation of Delhi'.
'I have written to the Union Power Minister and I am sure he will take cognisance of the matter,' the Delhi power minister said.
The national capital's air quality was in the 'very poor category' on Tuesday morning, the first time this season, with calm winds and low temperatures allowing accumulation of pollutants.
Responding to queries from reporters, he also claimed that the 'Dadri power station, which causes immense pollution in the city despite crossing its threshold of 25 years, is being planned to be renewed by the Central government'. In the letter to the Union power minister, Jain has said 'as per the 2016 report of a study conducted by IIT- Kanpur, there are 13 thermal power plants (TPP) with a capacity of over 11,000 MW in the radius of 300 km of Delhi, which are expected to contribute to secondary particles'.
'Based on the study done by Quazi (2013), it was shown that power plants contribute nearly 80 per cent of sulphates and 50 per cent nitrates to the receptor concentration,' the letter reads.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change vide its notification dated December 7, 2015 had notified Environment (Protection) Amendment Rules, 2015 vide which revised emission limits were prescribed for thermal power stations, it said.
'The said notification directed the TPPs to meet these norms within 2 years of date of publication of the notification. To meet these revised emission standards, the TPPs were required to install or upgrade various emission control systems,' the letter said.
On the issue of non-payment of salaries to the doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital, he reiterated that the North Corporation should hand over hospitals to the Delhi government. Jain claimed the MCD had earlier 'tried transferring the hospitals to the Centre, but it did not take them'.
'We give funds to the MCD, but we are unaware of the expenditure since they do not get an audit done. A formal written proposal has been sent to the Centre to transfer these hospitals to the Delhi government,' he said.
Doctors of the 900-bed Hindu Rao hospital, the largest civic facility in Delhi, have been agitating for the past several days seeking release of their salaries due for the last three months. PTI KND KKS RDM RDM