National Green Tribunal directs for replacing 15 years old diesel generator sets with new ones which run on cleaner fuel

National Green Tribunal

National Green Tribunal | The bench comprising of Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member), JJ., and A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member), directed that old diesel generator sets must be discarded and be replaced with new ones.

In the instant matter, an application was filed by the applicant, Satish Govind with regards to violation of air quality norms by operation of diesel generators by the Management Board of the Windsor Park Residents Welfare Association (WPRWA) at Ghaziabad, UP.

The Applicant contended that the Windsor Park society has 12 towers of 10 to 23 floors, but the chimneys of all DG sets end right above the DG sets, thus releasing all exhaust emissions at the ground floor level. These chimneys are not extended to above the roof heights of the residential towers. The applicant also contended that many residents, especially ones living on lower floors, have been suffering from pollution for years and despite complaining to the Management Board of WPRWA verbally in meetings, no action was taken.

The Tribunal vide order dated 18-10-2021, directed them to enforce Graded Response Action Plane (GRAP) with regards to DG sets and called for remedial action for upholding the air quality and noise quality standards in the operation of DG sets. The Tribunal further directed the CPCB, State PCB and District Magistrate to take further remedial action and furnish an action taken report. The Tribunal stated that

“Potential for air pollution by diesel generator sets is well known. This requires effective safeguards and regulation by the statutory authorities for protection of public health and enforcement of rule of law. Air Act empowers the PCBs to take remedial action against operation of DG sets violating air quality norms.”

The Tribunal vide order 16-3-2022, issued the notice to Residents Welfare Association and directed the State of UP to issue a State-wide policy and monitoring mechanism to deal with similar violations. The Tribunal stated that:

“ the violations found in the present case are not limited to the present housing complex nor to Ghaziabad but other housing complexes in Ghaziabad and also in other cities in the State which may call for a State-wide policy and monitoring mechanism to remedy the situation after discussion of the matter at the level of State level authorities in UP in the light of mandate of law and earlier directions of this Tribunal. There is need to monitor operation of DG sets in Residential Societies and Commercial complexes with reference to use being of “Type Approved (TA)” category, cleaner fuel, acoustic control system with required stack height and being compliant with Regulations on the subject. There is also need for mechanism for creating awareness about need for compliance and also, for guidance for compliance.”

The Residents Welfare Association contended that the Tribunal should not deal with the matter as a dispute is pending before the Supreme Court with regards to certain issues between the developer and welfare association. The State via report contended that a task force is constituted for compliance against violations by setting up of DG sets throughout the State.

Rejecting the contention of the Residents Welfare Association, the Tribunal opined that both the matters are different, as the issue before the Tribunal is compliance of environmental norms in operating DG sets which is not same as before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The Tribunal opined that “Operation of DG sets in violation of environmental norms has to be stopped and for past violations, accountability fixed, following due process of law.”

The Tribunal directed that diesel generators that have been in use for more than 15 years need to be discarded and replaced by equipment that run on cleaner fuel. And also, new equipment must comply with norms, including proper stack height, which must be ensured by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and the District Magistrate, Ghaziabad.

[Satish Govind v. Park Residents Welfare Assn., 2022 SCC OnLine NGT 244, decided on 01-11-2022]

Advocates who appeared in this case:

Mr. Pradeep Misra and Mr. Daleep Dhyani, Counsel for UPPCB;

Mr. Sunil Sharma, Counsel for the Windsor Park Residents Welfare Association.

*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

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