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Karnataka: Rule for diesel generator sets troubles firms amid power woes - Times of India
BENGALURU: A new rule requiring industries to upgrade their diesel generator (DG) sets is causing problems for companies, which are grappling with challenges arising from soaring fuel prices and a coal-linked power crisis.
The high cost of diesel is forcing them to use DG sets more often, but the new rule, prompted by environmental concerns, is complicating the situation. Industry associations warn that this may potentially impact economic recovery, slowing it down.
After an order by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) issued a circular in September, saying all DG sets of 125 KVA capacity and above should be retrofitted with an emission control device. The measure, formulated under the National Clean Air programme, seeks to reduce pollution caused by DG sets and improve their fuel efficiency.
“The objective is appreciable, but the timing of its implementation is wrong and it impedes economic recovery. The rule will lead to additional costs for industries and officials may misuse it to harass units. We are getting reports of sites being inspected,” said S Sampathraman, chairman, All-India Manufacturers’ Organisation.
Sampathraman believes the new rule is not required as CPCB 4+ will anyway come into force next year and all DG sets will have to be upgraded to meet the National Clean Air standards. CPCB 4+ stands for Central Pollution Control Board 4 plus emission norms.
He added that there were no approved vendors who could supply the equipment needed to upgrade DG sets and that available products were of dubious origin and cost Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.
Representatives of companies like Cummins India Ltd and Eicher have already written to authorities. “The NGT’s order states that the retrofitment device shall be type approved by labs recognised by CPCB, but no device has been approved by any of the five labs and there is no certification procedure specified,” states the letter sent by Cummins India Ltd.
Industries claim that the circular violates existing emission norms, under which conversion or retrofitting of DG sets is not permitted.
“Instead of enforcing this unnecessary rule, the government should focus on providing uninterrupted power supply so that industries don’t have to rely on DG sets. There are power cuts at least four times a day in industrial areas. When such is the case, the government should look for ways to reduce the diesel price,” said Perikal Sundar, president, Federation of Karnataka Chambers and Commerce. He added that Tamil Nadu had withdrawn a similar circular.
Officials said they were aware of the issue and suggested that companies should raise the matter in the Kaigarika Adalat (Industry Adalat) on Tuesday. The adalat will be held as part of the two-day entrepreneur workshop organised by the industries department.
“Let industrialists come to us with their grievances. We will take it up with the pollution control board,” said industry commissioner Gunjan Krishna. Syed Khaja, a senior environmental officer at KSPCB, said the board was only implementing the NGT’s order and it cannot take back the circular. “Industrialist can move the tribunal,” he added.
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