New MoEFCC notification on fly ash includes solar, wind power plants for reclamation

Manufacturers raise concern as price of fly ash bricks to be decided by CPWD’s schedule of rates

By Shuchita Jha
Published: Tuesday 03 January 2023
Fly ash bricks utilise waste from TPPs and reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing dependency on red bricks that use topsoil and pollute the environment. Photo: iStock

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) clarified the compliance dates for the complete utilisation of fly ash for thermal power plants (TPP) in a new notification. Areas where fly ash is stored can also be reclaimed by setting up solar and wind power plants, along with plantations, the notice said. 

A notification issued in 2021 said the date for utilisation was 2021-22, said Nivit Kumar Yadav, programme director for the industrial pollution unit of Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). It now reads, “utilisation targets as per the applicable compliance cycle shall commence from April 1, 2022”.

Read more: Fly ash dyke breach in Singrauli points to a bigger problem of fly ash disposal

The utilisation of legacy ash was not required in areas where reclamation has taken place with greenbelts or plantations, stated the sub-para 6 of the last notification. 

Adding solar and wind power plants will exempt TPPs from fly ash utilisation. It has also extended the time for utilisation to three years from a year starting April 1, 2022, as the previous notification needed more clarity. 

“Discussions with a senior official from MoEF&CC revealed the new notification has been released to clarify the previous notice,” said Yadav. 

The ministry has been releasing notifications for fly ash for the last two decades, said Yadav. “Though there is substantial utilisation of fly ash, it is very poor in many TPPs. Now it remains to be seen how the TPPs will implement the said notification from this year.”

The new notification has done away with the price cap on fly ash bricks, Avinash Parikh, secretary of the Fly Ash Brick Manufacturer Association, told DTE

“But the new notice has introduced a parameter stating the price of the fly ash bricks will be decided according to the Department Schedule Rates (DSR) of Central Public Works Department (CPWD) or Public Works Department (PWD) concerned. This will be a setback to fly ash brick manufacturers,” he said. 

The new notification states the cost of fly ash bricks will not be more than the price mentioned in the schedule of rates as specified by CPWD or PWD concerned. If not mentioned in the schedule of rates, it cannot be higher than the price of alternative products, he added. 

Read more: Scientists find use of fly ash in mosquito control

“Other alternatives can mean red bricks and any other available brick units. This will complicate the matter as not all remote villages and towns have a DSR,” Parikh said. 

Fly ash bricks utilise waste from TPPs and reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing dependency on red bricks that use topsoil and pollute the environment. But the new notification discourages fly ash brick manufacturers as the DSR rates haven’t been revised in a long time, he said.

The provision for getting 20 per cent free fly ash from TPPs for brick-making made mandatory in 2016 has been done away with, he added.

Read more:

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NTPC fly ash discharge in Chhattisgarh sparks water contamination fears in Odisha

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