Economy

CSE opposes proposal to extend emission norms deadline for thermal power plants

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 08, 2021

Will have grave repercussions in the fight against air pollution, says Director-General Sunita Narain

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has cautioned the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) against agreeing to the Power Ministry’s proposal for extending the deadline of meeting emission norms for coal-based thermal power plants in the country.

The Ministry of Power has requested the MoEF&CC to extend the deadline for all thermal plants from 2022 to 2024.

“Extending the deadline once again will have grave repercussions for the fight against air pollution. It will also mean a complete mockery of the Supreme Court and Indian regulators’ efforts to control pollution from the coal-based thermal power sector over the last five years,” said Sunita Narain, Director-General, CSE.

The extension was sought on the account of uncertainties and delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and other issues like import restrictions, lack of local availability of components, liquidity crunch in the power sector, credit refusals due to high stress in the sector, regulatory delays etc.

“Most of the centrally-run power stations such as NTPC, NLC and DVC have shown progress in their efforts to meet the deadline,” says Soundaram Ramanathan, Deputy Programme Manager, industrial pollution unit, CSE. “The laggards largely consist of privately-run power stations such as Lanco, Sembcorp, etc. Instead of lobbying for these stations, the Power Ministry should support the MoEF&CC in implementing the norms.”

The Power Ministry’s another recent proposal for a dilution of the sulphur dioxide norms cites an incomplete study by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the CSE said in a statement.

“The Power Ministry’s move seems to have been influenced by the industry’s consistent efforts to dilute and delay the norms. The industry is obviously not bothered about the health risks posed by pollution from these coal-based power plants,” Narain said.

“The Power Ministry’s request is nothing but rewarding those plants that have not taken adequate action on the 2015 notification till now. We request the MoEF&CC to incentivise plants that are meeting the norms and penalise units that are defaulting,” said Nivit Kumar Yadav, Programme Director, industrial pollution unit, CSE.

Published on February 08, 2021

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