Ban on diesel generators in NCR from today


Air quality of Delhi and Gurugram improves slightly but continues to remain in ‘poor’ category, according to CPCB data

The air quality of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida improved slightly but continued to remain in the ‘poor’ category on Wednesday, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

A ban on diesel generators, except for emergency purposes, will come into force in Delhi and neighbouring cities from Thursday as part of the Graded Response Action Plan to control air pollution, as announced by the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi is likely to stay at the higher end of ‘poor’ or lower end of ‘very poor’ category on Thursday. It is expected to improve marginally on Friday and Saturday, according to government-run monitoring agency System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

The AQI of Delhi was 276 on Wednesday, down from 300 on Tuesday, as per CPCB data. The AQI of Gurugram was 279, slightly less than 288 on Tuesday. Noida’s AQI also decreased to 273, from 286 on Tuesday.

The AQI for the three cities are the average values of the past 24 hours, which is released by the CPCB at 4 p.m. every day, and treated as the official figures.

Stubble effect

At a meeting with officials of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, the EPCA has told officials to take “all efforts” to supply machinery to farmers on an “urgent basis” to control stubble burning. SAFAR has stated that stubble burning in neighbouring States is expected to contribute “minimally” to Delhi’s pollution due to wind direction for now.

Last week, the Supreme Court-appointed EPCA had directed Delhi and neighbouring States to implement air pollution control measures under “very poor” and “severe” category of the GRAP from October 15, including a ban on use of diesel generators.

On Wednesday, the EPCA wrote to the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, and Punjab that diesel generators will be allowed only for medical purposes, elevators, railways, metro activities, airports, and interstate bus terminals.

“Any deterioration in ambient air quality in the region during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would have considerable ramifications in terms of health of the residents of Delhi-NCR,” EPCA chairman Bhure Lal said in the letter.

In a related development, AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha said that diesel generators are used in Haryana despite Supreme Court orders and that the EPCA should take action against them.

‘Haryana yet to act’

“As the GRAP will come into force from October 15, the use of diesel gensets will be banned in the regions of Delhi-NCR, but Haryana doesn’t seem to want to take any action. Their government has written ‘distress letters’ to the EPCA repeatedly, saying that they can’t enforce the ban in their State,” Mr. Chadha said.

Societies to be affected

Meanwhile, over 15,000 residents in the Millennium City, including 650 families in The Crest at DLF Phase-V, could be impacted by the ban on generator sets.

Three group housing societies, including DLF’s Camellias and The Crest in DLF Phase-V, don’t have regular power connection and are entirely dependent on diesel generators.

Chief engineer, Smart City Project, Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, Vineeta Singh told The Hindu that two DLF Phase-V group housing societies and one in Manesar, with total population of around 2,000 residents, do not have power grid connection.

Besides, 19 group housing societies across Gurugram, with a total population of around 13,000 residents, have partial load from the grid and were dependent on the generator sets to meet their power needs.

Ms. Singh said a total of 97 power connections, including commercial establishments, were pending last year due to deficiencies on the part of developers/consumers and 18 were granted connections so far.

“In all these pending cases, either the fees are pending or the infrastructure is not complete. For instance, DLF has to set up two sub-stations of 220 KV and 350 KV capacity as per their original plan, but have set up only one sub-station and two transformers,” she said.

Ms. Singh said that DHBVN had constrains in seven cases last year, but all deficiencies were met.

(With inputs from Ashok Kumar)

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