As the air quality in the national capital, Delhi has improved with the decrease in air pollution, the Environment Pollution Control Authority(EPCA) has allowed the coal-based thermal power plant in Badarpur to be reopened from March 15 till next year winter. The Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB) had informed the Supreme Court appointed EPCA that the air pollution causing particles in Delhi’s air were under control.
“From the onset of winters, which is October 15 onwards, the plant has remained closed. But since due to several reasons, including wind speed, if the pollution remains under control, we may think of reopening it,” EPCA Chairperson Bhure Lal told IANS.

Conditions for reopening

The decision of reopening the plant was taken in a meeting of Supreme Court mandated EPCA. Though the Badarpur plant is allowed to reopen from March 15, it is done with certain conditions that the plant must adhere to. Badarpur plant is supposed to empty the fly ash pit within a certain time slab, that will be determined by the Union Power Secretary and the CMD of NTPC. The Badarpur plant also needs to make sure that the 400KV Tughlaqabad sub-station will be brought into running condition by June 2018. EPCA has directed the Power Department to submit a quarterly schedule for completion of 400KV Tughlaqabad sub-station. The authorities of the Badarpur plant needs to monitor and control the effluents causing air pollution in the city. The permission to reopen the power plant is given because the secretary power, Varsha Joshi, had submitted that the Badarpur plant cannot be closed until the Tughlaqabad sub-station was in running condition to meet the power requirements of south Delhi areas.

Opening of Tughlaqabad Sub-Station

According to a power department official, to meet the power demands in time of summer, at least two of the power plant units of 210MW each are supposed to be in functioning mode, otherwise the power demands will not be fulfilled.

The land for the Tughlaqabad sub-station was taken over in July 2016 and as per the secretary power, Varsha Joshi, the deadline for the completion of the project is June 2018. She also added that after the completion of Tughlaqabad sub-station, Badarpur plant will either be closed or converted to a gas plant.
“Once the sub-station is launched, the Badarpur plant will be allowed to operate only if it converts to the use of cleaner natural gas,”EPCA member Narain said.

It was recommended by EPCA members that a fugitive emission study should be conducted by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee in order to monitor the air quality in the Badarpur power plant. The DPCC was not equipped with the resources and capacity to do so which is why it appointed National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to conduct a study to find out the contribution of Badarpur power plant and the fly ash dump in the air pollution in Delhi. With the decrease in the air pollution, the ban on use of diesel generator sets was also lifted on Monday. Though ban on burning of leaves and waste will be implemented for the complete year.

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