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Pollution deadline missed: What next for India’s dirty power plants?


 

 

The harsh realities of burning vast quantities of coal in India with very lax pollution control measures are well described by a news article in The Economic Times.  With a large number of coal power plants being additionally planned to be built, the pollution impacts on our communities, as amply demonstrated in the air pollution chaos of New Delhi recently, can be considered as catastrophic if we have any sensitivity left towards the public health issues.
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India faces painful move to cleaner energy
 
As Thermal Power Plants Miss Clean Up Deadline, Environment Ministry Mulls Over New Time Frame
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There are also many news articles and reports focusing on very serious health and environmental issues for our communities because of the coal power related issues as below.
 
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India Is Overtaking China as the World’s Largest Emitter of Anthropogenic Sulfur Dioxide
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World Pollutionwatch: evidence grows of lifelong harm from polluted air
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Global pollution kills 9 million a year and threatens ‘survival of human societies’
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​In this context it becomes anybody’s guess as to how our governance will look like to the international communities, assuming that we do not care for the health of our own people.
 
​One also wonders as to what would be the Union Health Ministry’s take on this issue.  Can we expect the forthcoming National Energy Policy to effectively address such serious issues not only for immediate remedies but also for the future?  Without such effective remedies our communities will feel completely let down by the governments at the state and the centre.
A well considered feedback to NITI Aayog on its draft National Energy Policy, as enclosed, can provide some credible measures in this context.  Please consider the same for deliberations at the highest possible decision levels.  
 
It is a matter of concern to the civil society groups that the proposed National Energy Policy may not have been benefited by the effective participation of the larger society, and it may not have even been referred to the standing Committee of the Parliament on Energy.  The energy sector, which is a major contributor to GHG emissions and which is also intricately linked to the accelerated depletion of our natural resources, will need a paradigm shift in the way we deal with it.  I fondly hope that this critical issue is not lost in our eagerness to register a double digit GDP growth rate year after year.
A group of concerned individuals from CSOs working on the related issues can make a presentation to the Union Cabinet in this regard, if deemed useful.
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