The Centre’s air quality panel on Wednesday said industries using unapproved fuels, including coal, in Delhi-NCR will be closed down straightaway from January 1 and heavy fines will be imposed on them.
However, the use of low-sulphur coal in thermal power plants is allowed, it said.
“Pollution control authorities have been directed to close down industries and commercial establishments using unapproved fuels, including coal, without giving them any show cause notice.
“Maximum environmental compensation will be levied on them according to the guidelines of the Central Pollution Control Boards,” an official of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) said.
The use of low-sulphur coal is also allowed in captive thermal power plants, the official clarified, saying “it could be used wherever the primary purpose is power generation”.
Firewood and biomass briquettes can be used for religious purposes and cremation, wood or bamboo charcoal can be used for tandoors and grills of hotels, restaurants, banquet halls (with emission control system), and open eateries or dhabas.
The use of wood charcoal for cloth ironing is allowed, the CAQM said in a statement.
The commission had in June issued directions to ban the use of coal in industrial, domestic and other miscellaneous applications in the entire Delhi-NCR region from January 1, 2023.
Around 1.7 million tonnes of coal is used annually in industrial applications in NCR, with about 1.4 million tonnes being consumed in six major industrial districts alone.
The panel had earlier invited suggestions from the general public and experts in the field to find a permanent solution to the air pollution problem in Delhi-NCR.
A large number of suggestions were related to the banning of coal.
The CAQM then constituted an expert group to examine and deliberate upon all such suggestions and proposals.
In its report, the expert group also strongly recommended phasing out heavily polluting fossil fuels like coal and mandating cleaner fuels to the extent possible.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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