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Badarpur power plant has no plans to shut down despite order from court-appointed body

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The Badarpur plant, known to contribute 11 per cent of particulate matter, has been identified as Delhi’s most polluting power plant.

New Delhi: Officials of the NTPC, which runs the coal-based Badarpur plant in Delhi, say they have not received any instruction to shut down what has been identified as India’s most polluting power plant.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had last October had ordered closure of this plant to curb air pollution in the national capital.

“We haven’t received any order from the government as yet. It was just being planned to shut down the plant, and it was all verbal” Vijay Juyal, the public relations officer of NTPC, told ThePrint.

“Due to the recent increase in demand for power, the plant will continue to run till October,” he said.

As reported by ThePrint in earlier this year, the residents of the Molarband village, located close to the power plant, blamed it for dozens of cancer and TB cases.

The Badarpur plant, known to contribute 11 per cent of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), was declared the poorest performing coal-based power plant in Delhi on the parameters of environmental performance and energy efficiency by NGO Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

ThePrint had found that in Molarband, some 40 cases of lung and throat cancer had been detected among the area’s 20,000 population over the past 20 years, besides 55 tuberculosis patients who were under treatment in March when the investigation was carried out.

It was allowed to function temporarily by EPCA from 1 March until July so that a new service station of 4,000 MW in Tughlaqabad became ready to supply power to south Delhi.

However, Juyal said Tughlaqabad station is not ready yet. “It will require some more time… there was a problem with a military office in Tughlaqabad which complained about transmission lines passing through their premises. So we had to plan a new route, which is causing the delay,” he added.

In a meeting with EPCA officials in May 2017, NTPC had submitted that the Tughlaqabad station would be ready by July this year and that the Badarpur thermal power station would be shut down as soon as the sub-station becomes operational.

However, this isn’t the first time the shutting down process of the plant is stalled. As ThePrint found earlier, the central government and the Delhi government had been passing the buck on this issue with NTPC receiving no final order about its closure.

Another NTPC official had told ThePrint earlier that whoever would give the final order “will have to pay us the value of our land and property, which is the major issue”.

Delhi’s power minister Satyender Jain had Thursday written to the union power minister R.K. Singh, highlighting the drastic depletion in coal stock in Delhi’s thermal power plants.

He also stressed that the situation is “extremely critical”. He even urged Singh to take up the matter with the railways to provide coal to power plants, including the one in Badarpur, to avoid blackout in Delhi.

Shri Kant Rai, an official from NTPC said, “The Badarpur power plant will run minimum until August. The Delhi government is having a power shortage. It’s up to Delhi government now; they can shut it down if they want.”

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