The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has permitted the use of biomass fuels as an alternative to piped natural gas in "new industries" in the National Capital Region (NCR) barring Delhi.

The panel had in February directed industries operating on dirty fuels in the NCR to completely switch over to PNG or biomass fuels by September 30, 2022.

In a new direction dated May 18, the panel has permitted the use of biomass fuels as an alternative option "even in new/ under commissioning industries in the NCR, beyond the jurisdiction of the NCT of Delhi".

The CAQM also directed the industries in the NCR to adhere to emission standards for particulate matter emissions for biomass-fuelled boilers -- 80 micrograms per cubic metre.

The panel had earlier conducted an analysis of particulate matter emissions from industries using biomass fuels for boiler operations, which suggested that biomass fuels are much superior to conventional fossil fuels such as coal and diesel oil.

"The advantages of using such fuels far outweigh the environmental and technical concerns towards proper scientific disposal of large volumes of rice husk and other biomass as also the rampant open burning of paddy straw," it had said.