CAQM proposes to exempt DG sets from GRAP ban till December 31, ET RealEstate

September 29, 2023

NOIDA: With just two days left for the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to kick in, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Thursday proposed to exempt gensets that have not yet converted from diesel to clean fuel to operate emergency services.

The move appeared to have been forced by strong reactions from several NCR RWAs against CAQM’s earlier decision to completely ban diesel gensets during GRAP this year as many residential societies and establishments have not upgraded to gas-based gensets.

The proposal, circulated as a draft on which feedback has been sought before a formal notification is issued, makes it clear that this will be a “one-time exception” till December 31. CAQM said it had received feedback on the total ban on diesel gensets from many representatives of industrial associations, commercial entities, business organisations and individuals.

“The major issues raised include techno-commercial constraints, heavy cost implications, lack of adequate number of certified agencies for retrofit emission control devices (RECDs) for DG sets up to 800kW capacity, constraints of availability of gas supply, abnormal delays by gas distribution agencies in providing PNG connections and supply, etc,” the draft said.

In two orders in February and September last year, the commission had clarified that DG sets should shift to dual mode (gas and diesel) and install devices to regulate emissions.

Besides opposition from establishments that have not yet shifted to dual fuel, RWAs and industry owners have also voiced concern about the state of power supply, with outages still a regular affair in the NCR cities, and wondered how it’s feasible to regulate genset use when the grid cannot guarantee uninterrupted electricity.

“In the interest of not disrupting emergency services and permitting sufficient time for adopting the stipulated emission control mechanism, the commission, as a one-time exception, permits DG sets for all the capacity which have still not been equipped with emission control devices to be run only for emergency services in the NCR even under the period of restrictions under GRAP only up to December 31, 2023 and strictly subject to adherence to the above noted schedule/measures for emission control thereafter,” the CAQM said in the draft.

The exceptions would apply to elevators, escalators, travelators, etc, medical services like hospitals, nursing homes, health care facilities, railway services, railway stations, metro rail, airports and inter-state bus terminals.

Utsav Sharma, the regional officer of the pollution control board in Noida, said they were going through the draft and would submit their feedback soon.

“The final decision will be taken by CAQM once it receives suggestions and comments from various stakeholders across NCR. We hope the final decision will be communicated to us in a day or two,” he added.

A senior officer of the Haryana State Pollution Control Board refused to comment.

On the ground, the Noida Authority will conduct inspections from October 1 to look for GRAP violations. “The Authority will conduct a survey after October 2 and examine who is complying with the restrictions and who aren’t. Those who are halfway in the process would be given some time,” said SP Singh, the Authority’s deputy general manager of public health.

He also warned of action against violators. “GRAP rules must be followed at any cost. There is also a provision that housing societies can be sealed in case of repeated violations. But that is the last resort. We will try to resolve the problem in some other way or the other,” Singh said.

Residents said the government should ensure seamless power supply instead of giving momentary exemptions. “Are the residents at fault? In any case, it is the homebuyers who will have to bear the cost of fuel conversion or even if a penalty is imposed on the society,” said Sachin Goyal of JM Orchid in Sector 76.

Nikhil Singhal, the AOA president of Eldeco Aamantran in Sector 119, questioned if the Noida Authority could seal societies.

“The Authority has issued us a notice. But nowhere does it grant the Authority the right to seal any group housing society. In any case, we have been using diesel gensets only in case of an emergency.”

  • Published On Sep 29, 2023 at 09:14 AM IST

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