Delhi takes back Supreme Court plea to shut down 10 thermal power plants

Delhi govt wanted polluting electricity plants to first fit in pollution-curbing technology

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 09 July 2021
Said will facilitate talks before committee set up by the court. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Delhi government July 9, 2021 withdrew its public interest litigation before the Supreme Court for seeking the closure of 10 thermal power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana until they install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) technology. It comprises removing sulphur compounds from exhaust emissions of fossil-fuelled power stations.

Delhi’s application alleged the 10 power plants significantly pollute the air of the national Capital; it had sought that an order passed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) October 16, 2020 be quashed and set aside that extended the deadline for installing FGD.

The plants are:

  1. Dadri NCTPP
  2. Harduaganj TPS
  3. GH TPS
  4. Nabha TPP
  5. Ropar TPS
  6. Talwandi Sabo TPP
  7. Yamunanagar TPS
  8. Indira Gandhi STPP
  9. Panipat TPS
  10. Rajiv Gandhi TPS 

The plea had also sought the setting aside of a March 31, 2021 notification by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) that amended / extended timelines for complying with emission norms by coal-based electricity plants.

Delhi-based non-profit the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) had said the ministry’s latest amendment gives coal-based thermal power stations complete license to pollute.

The state government’s plea said despite many orders passed by the apex court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT), hardly any progress has been observed in controlling air pollution. Delhi filed the PIL in June 2021.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur had noted in a 2016 report, Comprehensive study on air pollution and green house gases (GHGs) in Delhi, that 13 thermal power plants — with a combined capacity to generate 11,000 megawatts within 300 kilometres  of Delhi, were expected to contribute greatly to secondary particles. 

Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the Delhi government, said sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were “killer gases” and the matter affected the health of citizens affected by pollution, to media had reported.  “Time and again the Delhi Government had asked the concerned authorities to close down the units which have failed to comply with the emission norms and have resultantly caused excessive pollution in the capital region,” the application read. 

The bench of judges Navin Sinha and R Subhash Reddy dismissed the writ petition as the Delhi government decided to withdraw it.

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