The Supreme Court’s decision to ban distribution, sale and use of furnace oil and pet coke in the national capital region will render over 25 lakh workers jobless, Assocham said on Monday.

“The industries are already under tremendous stress after the implementation of GST and the ban on use of pet coke will prove to be the final nail in the coffin. Over 25 lakh workers will be rendered jobless in Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram (formerly Gurgaon), Panipat, Sonipat and Noida alone,” Assocham said in a statement.

The chamber has called for giving adequate time to industrial consumers to migrate from furnace oil and pet coke to gas-based alternatives to save livelihood of the workers.

“It is estimated that about 1,000 units directly and nearly 10,000 allied units have been severely impacted by the ban on the use of pet coke and furnace oil from November 1,” Assocham said in a statement.

Earlier, the apex court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), in its report to the top court, had recommended that “distribution, sale and use of furnace oil and pet coke be strictly banned in the NCR”, in a move aimed at curbing pollution in the region.

“There has been no action by the government authorities to control the dust pollution. While they are trying to control stubble burning, they are facing resistance from the farmers. But on the contrary, the industry is always agreeing to fully comply with the norms as and when laid down, yet they have been punished,” said the industry body.

According to Assocham, the industries that are directly affected are in all segments.

It is imperative that adequate time be given to the industries to set up their process to meet the new norms laid down by the ministry. Therefore, the ban needs to be lifted to save the industry as well as prevent lakhs of workers being rendered jobless, suggested the industry chamber.

“The only alternative to furnace oil and pet coke is natural gas, which is nearly four times more expensive and this the industry cannot afford in this competitive environment and poor economic scenario,” Assocham held.

Moreover, it argued that there are no clear guidelines regarding emission of pollutants such as SO2 and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx).

“Interestingly, out of all the fuels used, pet coke is being labelled as a polluting fuel only because of higher sulphur content and it is alleged that it emits SO2, which pollutes the environment. However, as per the latest report form CPCB, the SO2 level in the entire NCR region including Delhi are well within the prescribed limits,” Assocham maintained.