Thermal power plants get extension on SO2 sops

The Union Environment Ministry, in a notification, has extended, for the third time in the last 5 years, the deadline for installing of flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) units by coal-based power plants. FGD is a pollution control technology which removes sulphur dioxide (SO2) from the exhaust gases of the thermal power plants. 

Initially the plants were supposed to install FGDs by 2017. As per the revised notification, the deadline has been extended from December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2024. This has been due to various reasons, including the coronavirus pandemic and import restrictions amidst geopolitical tension with neighbouring China. Defaulters will have to pay ‘graded’ penalties fixed by the ministry for missing the new deadline –  Rs 0.40 per unit of electricity generated for a delay of 366 days and beyond.

Chandra Bhushan, president and CEO of International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology, commented,  “Every year of delay pushes up the cost of compliance for them.” Experts attribute sulphur oxides to non-communicable lung diseases in India.

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