When India’s ‘toxic’ power plant comes to light: Part II
Posted April 10, 2019 05:08:54As India’s power sector becomes more and more polluted, its citizens and political leaders are looking for ways to curb the environmental damage.
The country’s top environmental agency, the Environment Ministry, has launched a pilot project in Bengaluru to test the safety of power plants.
But with the power sector a major part of the country’s economy, the pilot project has been in a precarious position.
The project has only been open for a few weeks and the environment ministry has been mum on when it will be operational.
It’s not clear when the pilot will be fully operational, but the ministry has already said it will start its operation sometime next year.
It seems the government wants to test power plants on a pilot basis, said Suman Khandelwal, who works at the NGO Environment and Development.
“But we can’t say if this is a pilot or not.
It’s very risky.”
The environmental agency says that a pilot programme is the only way to protect public health and to monitor the safety measures of power generators, which are not subject to the stringent environmental and health guidelines in India.
It also has the power to impose restrictions on the power industry if it decides to do so.
According to the Environment and Pollution Management Act, power plants are required to meet certain safety standards.
These include the requirement to meet a safe environment, a safe working environment and a safe operating environment, among others.
The ministry says that the first step to start the pilot programme will be to collect data from power plants to understand the environmental impacts of their operations.
The data will then be used to create an action plan for the power companies, according to a statement from the ministry.
Environmental activist, Natarajan Joshi, said that it is not surprising that the government is testing power plants since it is the industry’s largest sector.
“It’s a big business, and there is a huge interest from government to test and monitor power plants,” Joshi said.
The government has also been promoting renewable energy and renewable energy subsidies in the wake of the power plant disaster.
In the meantime, the ministry said it would help power companies in other parts of the world through an eco-investment scheme.
“The ministry is in touch with the Indian government and will facilitate the power projects of Indian power companies,” a ministry spokesperson said.