Air Quality Commission orders immediate closure of NCR industries not running on gas/ Cleaner fuels in industrial areas despite the availability of gas infrastructure and supply

Bhavya Pandey

New Delhi, December 7:

Despite the measures taken in different sectors towards the improvement of air quality of Delhi-NCR, the air quality still remains in the ‘Very Poor’ to ‘Severe’ category, according to a press release issued by Press Information Bureau. Keeping in view the need to enforce strict actions against the deteriorating air quality of the region, the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) believes that there is an urgent need to take further preventive measures, as a matter of extreme emergency and abundant caution.

Taking a tough stand against the industries in industrial areas flouting the comprehensive policy directions for shifting of industries operating in NCR districts to PNG/ cleaner fuels the commission has issued directions for immediate closure of all such industries that are located in industrial areas where PNG infrastructure and supply are available but have still not switched over to PNG. As per the directions of the Commission, these violating industries/ industrial units will not be permitted to schedule their operations till 12th December, and the position will be reviewed for further decisions.

In the Commission’s comprehensive policy Directions dated 12th August, for shifting of industries operating in NCR Districts to PNG/ cleaner fuels, the State Governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) were directed to:

audit and inspect the industries which are already connected to PNG supply and ensure that those industries are not using any other polluting fuels like coal etc, maintain strict vigil to prevent the use of unapproved fuels in the NCR, through the enforcement agencies concerned and take stringent action, in case of the defaulting units, prepare an implementable Action plan by clearly specifying definite timelines for switching over of all identified industries units to PNG, where infrastructure and supply of gas are already available, develop a time-bound comprehensive action plan, in consultation with the authorized entities to supply gas in the industrial areas falling within the specified geographical areas of NCR districts, for ensuring PNG and infrastructure supply in the remaining industrial areas.

As per the Commission’s Directions dated 16th November, on steps for effective control of air pollution in the wake of prevailing air quality scenario in Delhi-NCR, all industries in the National Capital Region having gas connectivity shall be run only on gas, failing which industries concerned shall be closed.

It was also directed that all industries in NCR where gas connectivity is available shall immediately be shifted to gas and State Governments to furnish the industry-wise date of shifting. Additionally, NCR State Governments and GNCTD were required to further set up effective enforcement mechanisms including intensive and continuous drives by a deputing adequate number of teams consisting of senior officers.

CAQM has also deputed Flying Squads for field visits and rigorous inspections of different sites contributing to the deteriorating air quality of Delhi-NCR and reporting their compliance with the directions to the CAQM. The Commission is reviewing the progress on daily basis by holding review meetings with the Flying Squads to take stock of the situation and take necessary punitive actions against the violators.

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