Switch to green fuel: NCR units must do the needful for long-term gains - The Tribune India

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Switch to green fuel

NCR units must do the needful for long-term gains

Switch to green fuel

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo

THE majority of industrial units in the National Capital Region (NCR) have once again failed to meet the deadline, September 30, for a shift to green fuels such as PNG from traditional fossil fuels like coal, diesel and petcoke. This switchover is crucial to combating the acute air pollution in the NCR, which peaks in the winter months, affecting the health of millions of residents. One can imagine the amount of toxic effluents released by coal-fired boilers and burners into the atmosphere from the sheer number of firms operating in this business hub: 24,000 units in Faridabad, 15,000 in Gurugram and 25,000 in Panipat.

Various governmental bodies tasked with ensuring cleaner air by spurring industrial carbon reduction efforts have been working for many years now towards providing the infrastructure necessary for a smooth transition. However, most industrial units have resisted investing in clean technology and managed to get extensions on one pretext or the other, bypassing the series of deadlines fixed for the changeover in the past few years. The repeated delays in the adoption of renewable energy sources have led to the matter reaching the courts and the green tribunal and also sparked allegations of an unholy nexus between rich industrialists and corrupt enforcement officials.

Having missed the deadline yet again, it remains to be seen if the defaulters facing closure on the orders of the Commission for Air Quality Management will actually be shut down or the multi-crore industry will get another extension. The association of micro, small and medium enterprises of India has already said Faridabad and Gurugram firms are unable to bear the cost of Rs 20,000 crore needed for the conversion to clean fuel as per the rules. This is a myopic view of the situation. The UK’s example should be an eye-opener. A report earlier this year said the UK would have been paying ‘billions of pounds’ less for its energy had it stuck to its plans to reduce fossil fuel use a decade back. The industry must realise that in the long run, renewable energy is bound to bring the costs down.

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