The reported dilution of thermal power plants norm is not final, public comments invited on draft notification
The draft notification dated 16th October 2017 is not accessible on MoEFCC website, though public comments are invited within 60 days.
Amidst the recent news of the Environment Ministry of India relaxing the water consumption standards for thermal power plants, we tried to access the notification on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MoEFCC) website. The notification could not be found anywhere on MoEFCC website, or may be it is not prominently published. The article published by Scroll on 30th October 2017 where this information was first published also did not share any link to the notification but made the following observation:
The relaxation was introduced on October 17 through an amendment to the rules notified by the ministry in 2015, which were applicable to power plants set up after January 1, 2017. The amended rules allow all thermal plants that have started operations this year, as well as the ones that will come up in future, to consume up to 20% more water than was permitted earlier.
We accessed the said notification from Gazette of India and there are two important facts. One, the amendment is not yet final and it is a draft notification published on 16th October, 2017. Secondly, the draft notification specifically states that the draft is open for public comments upto 60 days from publication of the draft. A copy of the original draft notification dated 16th October, 2017 is provided below:
The reason for not making accessible this particular draft notification by MOEFCC on its website is best known to the Ministry officials. Though other updates are posted on it. All thanks to Scroll.in that we are aware of the recent development.
VENHF had sent a detailed objection in June 2015 to the draft of the thermal emission rules which were finally notified by MoEFCC in December 2015 sidelining the objections sent. Subsequently, a petition was also filed in May, 2016 challenging the notification as well as raising several concerns related to regulation of coal-based thermal power plants in India. The case is sub-judice to National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench and the copy of the petition filed by Vindhya Bachao can be accessed here.