Controls off for diesel generators
barely six months after laws to check noise and air pollution from generator sets came into force, they have been watered down. It is ironic that one of the implementing agencies - the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (dpcc) - is to blame. Worse still, the dilution will impact the environment adversely.
In May last year, the Union ministry of environment and forests (moef) notified the Environment (Protection) Second Amendment Rules, 2002. The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (derc) followed this up in June with the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (Grant of Consent for Captive Power Plants) Regulations, 2002.
The derc regulations made it mandatory for consumers to get gensets above 25 kilo volt ampere (kva) capa-city checked for air and noise pollution by the dpcc. It was only subsequent to this crucial clearance that the derc would go ahead with the final registration.
But snags surfaced right at the outset. For almost six months, consumers were made to run from pillar to post to get their gensets certified. Their attempts proved futile as dpcc failed to put in place a certification procedure. As a last resort the derc amended its regulations in January 2003, eliminating the dpcc's role. It did away with clause 9, which stipulates that captive power plants (cpp) abide by emission standards set by the Union or state government. The section notes: "They (the cpps) will have to obtain all the required environmental and pollution clearances from the central or the state pollution control authorities and submit proof of such clearance along with the application. The grant/renewal of consent for cpp shall be subject to such clearances."
derc secretary M L Sharma details the commission's decision: "By including clause 9 in our notification, we had made a conscious effort to protect the environment and safeguard human health. We were not bound to do so, as a separate notification already exists for checking pollution from gensets under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986." Sharma holds dpcc responsible for the entire process being thrown out of gear: "The committee was supposed to verify whether gensets fell within the stipulated environmental parameters. But it failed to do so. We realised that the consumers were bearing the brunt as applications were getting stuck. Hence we have done away with clause 9."
The dpcc is tight-lipped on the issue. On being questioned about the amendment that in effect ends the committee's involvement in the process, dpcc chairperson Naini Jayaseelan said that that the derc should know better since it had made the changes.
Nuts and bolts According to the derc regulations notified in June 2002, those authorised by the commission could operate a cpp in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. A cpp refers to a power plant set up or proposed to be installed by a person or a group of persons for their use.
Only gensets above 25 kva capacity need to be registered with the derc. In case of generators with a capacity above 10 kva and up to 25 kva, the commission just needs to be informed in writing. Gensets below 10 kva are not covered under the regulations.
The aim of derc's regulations was to control pollution from gensets in keeping with moef's rules. The possession of two documents will be required to comply with the latter, which will be enforced from July 2003: type approval certificate and conformity of production certificate. Gensets already in use are being monitored for noise emissions only, which "shall be controlled by providing an acoustic enclosure
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