CAQM Proposes One-Time Exemption for Diesel Gensets in NCR for Emergency Services

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    The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has unveiled a proposal to temporarily exempt diesel gensets that are yet to transition to cleaner fuels, just ahead of the implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). The move comes in response to mounting opposition, particularly from residential welfare associations (RWAs) and establishments that have not yet adopted gas-based gensets. According to the draft proposal, this exemption will be a “one-time exception” set to remain in effect until December 31, 2023. CAQM has invited feedback on the draft before formalizing the decision.

    Background

    CAQM’s initial decision to enforce a complete ban on diesel gensets during GRAP had sparked strong criticism from various quarters, including industrial associations, commercial entities, business organizations, and individuals. Key concerns raised included:

    1. Techno-Commercial Constraints: Many genset owners faced challenges related to the cost of transitioning to cleaner fuels and the shortage of certified agencies for retrofit emission control devices (RECDs) for DG sets with capacities up to 800kW.
    2. Gas Supply Issues: The availability of gas supply and delays by gas distribution agencies in providing PNG connections were cited as significant obstacles.
    3. Power Supply Reliability: Regular power outages in the NCR cities raised questions about the feasibility of regulating genset usage when grid electricity cannot guarantee uninterrupted supply.

    One-Time Exception

    In response to these concerns and to prevent disruptions to essential services, CAQM has proposed a one-time exemption. Under this provision, diesel gensets without emission control devices will be allowed to operate solely for emergency services within the NCR region. However, this exemption will be applicable only until December 31, 2023, with strict adherence to scheduled emission control measures thereafter becoming mandatory.

    Services Covered by the Exemption

    The exemption encompasses critical services, including:

    1. Elevators, Escalators, and Travelators
    2. Medical Services: This category includes hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare facilities.
    3. Railway Services: Encompassing railway stations, metro rail services, and associated facilities.
    4. Airports
    5. Inter-State Bus Terminals

    Local Authorities’ Response

    Local authorities, including the Noida Authority, are gearing up to enforce GRAP regulations. The Noida Authority has scheduled inspections to commence on October 1 to identify any violations. Additionally, they will assess the compliance progress among entities in the region, providing some flexibility to those in the transitional phase. Officials, however, stress the importance of strict adherence to GRAP rules, with the potential for housing societies to be sealed in cases of repeated violations.

    Concerns from Residents

    While the exemption has offered temporary relief to some, residents have expressed concerns about the need for uninterrupted power supply. They argue that residents should not bear the cost of fuel conversion or penalties imposed on societies. There is also skepticism about the authority’s ability to seal housing societies, with some asserting that diesel gensets are used solely in genuine emergency situations.

    Conclusion

    CAQM’s proposal for a temporary exemption of diesel gensets for emergency services until the end of the year reflects a pragmatic approach to the challenges posed by the transition to cleaner fuels. While this temporary respite has been welcomed by many, it places the responsibility on all stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition and strict adherence to emission control measures beyond the exemption period. As GRAP takes effect, it remains to be seen how effectively authorities can balance air quality improvement with the uninterrupted provision of essential services.

    Also Read: GNIDA’s New OTS Scheme Offers Homebuyers Up to 80% Discounts on Outstanding Dues

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