The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on October 28 granted exemption to information technology, process industries and some residential complexes in Haryana from the ban on electricity generators. The pollution watchdog had earlier banned use of electricity generators, except for essential services such as hospitals and railways, in Delhi and neighbouring cities of Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurugram from October 15 as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which comes into effect according to the severity of air pollution.
The Haryana administration had written to the EPCA, saying around 16,200 people in some residential complexes and condominiums in Gurgaon and Faridabad will be affected by ban on diesel generators, as their developers or builders have not yet taken electricity connections. EPCA head Bhure Lal on Wednesday said there are only 15 cases — 14 residential complexes and a commercial complex — which require exemption from the ban till November 30.
"EPCA is granting exemption to these 15 cases as requested by you on the assurance that this will be only for the period up to November 30," he wrote to Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan. The pollution watchdog also granted permission to use of generator sets as a secondary source of power in IT and process industries "where servers cannot afford a break of even a single second".
The EPCA, however, said the institutions and industries will have to maintain a "logbook of use of DG (diesel generator) sets to ensure that these are only used when there is disruption in regular electricity supply". The Graded Response Action Plan — a set of anti-pollution measures followed in Delhi and its vicinity towns according to the severity of the situation — also came into force on Thursday.
It was notified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2017 for implementation through the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority. The measures under GRAP include increasing bus and metro services, hiking parking fees and stopping use of diesel generator sets when the air quality turns poor.
When the situation turns "severe", GRAP recommends closure of brick kilns, stone crushers and hot mix plants, sprinkling of water, frequent mechanised cleaning of roads and maximising power generation from natural gas. The measures to be followed in the "emergency" situation include stopping entry of trucks in Delhi, ban on construction activities and introduction of the odd-even car rationing scheme.
EPCA, however, had earlier told Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh that they "should try and avert the need to take other emergency measures for pollution control as the economy is already under stress post-lockdown. Therefore, our combined effort is to ensure that there is no further disruption".