ASSOCHAM has advocated giving adequate time to the industrial consumers to migrate from thefurnace oil and pet coke to gas-based to save the livelihood of over 25 Lakhs workers in the national capital region (NCR).
It is estimated that about 1,000 units directly and nearly 10,000 allied units have been severely impacted by the ban on the use of petcoke and furnace oil from November 1,” say the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).
The industries that are directly affected are in all segments i.e. large, medium and small are textiles, rubber, sugar, steel, paper, packaging, forging, agro based industries etc. NCR is the major hub of export of garments and auto components. With the closure of textile processing factories, the supply of fabric to these exporters will also be discontinued, resulting in extinction of this trade from this region.
Similarly, sugar, paper, rubber, agro based industries will also not be able to sustain their business because of sharp increase in cost of fuel, as a result of ban on use of pet coke & furnace oil.
There are no clear guidelines regarding emission of pollutants such as SO2 and Nitrogen Oxide (NOx). Earlier, the Supreme Court of India had directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to formulate the norms for SO2 and NOx for the industry by 30th June, 2017.
Interestingly out of all the fuels used, pet coke is being labelled as a polluting fuel only because of higher Sulphur content and it is alleged that it emits SO2, which pollutes the environment. However, as per the latest report form CPCB, the SO2 level in the entire NCR region including Delhi are well within the prescribed limits.
Other than SO2 levels, PM 10 & PM 2.5 levels in the gases emitted by the use of pet coke, are also well within prescribed limits.
As per EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority) in PM10 and PM2.5 the main polluting particles, the industrial contribution is only 11% whereas the major contributors are Road Dust (38%), Vehicular pollution (20%), Domestic Source (12%) and others.
It is imperative that adequate time be given to the industries to set up their process to meet the new norms laid down by the ministry. Therefore, the ban needs to be lifted to save the industry as well as prevent lakhs of workers being rendered jobless, said the industry chamber.
The only alternative to furnace oil and pet coke is natural gas which is nearly four times more expensive and this the industry cannot afford in this competitive environment and poor economic scenario. The industries are already under tremendous stress after the implementation of GST and the ban on use of Pet Coke will prove to be the final nail in the coffin. Over 25 lakh workers will be rendered jobless in Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Panipat, Sonipat& Noida alone.
As per earlier order of 2nd May by the Supreme court, according to ASSOCHAM the industries are already in the process of procuring &commissioning the wet scrubbers& other pollution control technologies to bring down the emission levels of SO2 within the norms prescribed by CPCB &Ministry of Environment. The industry is committed to maintain a cleaner & pollution free environment.
It is also to be considered that during the Diwali holidays, most of the industries were closed from 19th to 22nd October,17& were not using pet coke. Even at that time the air pollution level increased in these days, due to burning of fire crackers, vehicular pollution & stubble burning, which is an indication that the other factors are having a much bigger impact on deteriorating the air quality.
There has been no action by the Government authorities to control the dust pollution; while they are trying to control stubble burning but they are facing resistance from the farmers. But on the contrary the industry is always agreeing to fully comply with the norms as and when laid down, yet they have been punished.