The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) have been directed to comply with emission standards for sulphur oxide and particulate matter by December 31, 2021.
The government has informed the apex court that NTPC has 48 thermal power plants while DVC has nine such units which have installed capacity of 500 megawatt and were situated in dense or critically polluted areas.
It has told a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that these 57 units were under the control of the central government.
“These units are expected to comply with emission standards for SOX (sulphur oxide) and PM (particulate matter) latest by December 31, 2021. The tenders are expected to be awarded in all these cases some time in December 2018,” the government told the court.
“Directions have been given by the Government of India to these entities in this regard to ensure compliance by 2021,” it said.
Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, representing the Centre, told the top court that NTPC was carrying out a pilot project on nitrogen oxide (NOX) emission levels and depending upon its result, the NOX emission level from thermal power plants would come within permissible limits by December 31, 2022.
Nadkarni also said there were some private units and state government-run thermal power generation units that have installed capacity of more than 500 megawatt and the Ministry of Power can neither exercise “coercive authority” over them nor can give any commitment on their behalf.
“Keeping in view the requirements of the environment and the health of the people of this country, we are of the view that it would be appropriate if these power generating units are also brought on board to consider the impact of what they are doing to the environment and to the health of the people of the country,” the bench said.
The bench was informed that there was an association of private generating units.
The apex court issued notice to these units through the association to assist it in the matter “keeping in mind the environment and health of the people”.
It also issued notices to the power generating companies of the state governments and posted the matter for further hearing on October 11.
The apex court had earlier slammed the Centre and the Ministry of Power for extending till 2022 the deadline for thermal power plants across the country to adhere to emission norms.
It had sought details of number and location of thermal power plants in the country which generate above 500 megawatt electricity and are situated in areas having a population density of 400 per square kilometre.
The court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had earlier filed its report before the bench on emission standards for thermal power plants.
The court was hearing a matter related to the issue of air pollution in Delhi-national capital region (NCR).