GS Paper - 3 (Energy)

The use of coal as a fuel will be banned across the National Capital Region (NCR) with effect from 1 January 2023, according to the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM). For regions where infrastructure for and supply of piped natural gas (PNG) is already available, the ban on the use of coal will come into force from 1 October 2022, the CAQM said in a statement on 8 June 2022.

According to CAQM

  1. As the concerns of air pollution are uniform across the NCR and from the standpoint of a common airshed approach for the entire NCR and adjoining areas, it was decided by the Commission to phase out use of coal as a fuel from entire NCR in industrial, domestic and miscellaneous applications (barring the use of low sulphur coal only in thermal power plants), towards aiming for an overall improved air quality in the region.
  2. Around 1.7 million tonnes of coal is used annually in industries in the NCR. The commission has issued multiple directions to the state governments in the NCR asking industries to switch to PNG.
  3. On 7 December last year, the CAQM had ordered the closure of those industries which had failed to switch to use of PNG despite supply being available, till 12 December.
  4. With air quality having deteriorated last winter, the commission had also restricted the timing of operation of industries not running on PNG to eight hours a day for five days a week.
  5. Industries in Delhi are permitted to run only on PNG or electricity. According to the Delhi government, all 1,607 registered industrial units in the NCR have switched to PNG.
  6. The state governments were directed to prepare an action plan with a timeline for switching all identified industrial units to PNG, along with a plan to ensure infrastructure and supply of PNG where it is not available.