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CIMA Gallary

Online monitor for cleaner air

Ranchi, July 9: To make industries more accountable, cement and power plants of Jharkhand will henceforth have to be a part of a mandatory online ambient air quality monitoring system that will help bosses at pollution control offices in Delhi and Ranchi keep track of local ecological changes.

A.K. Singh, the chairman of Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board (JSPCB), which initiated a similar measure among coke plants in phases last year, has said that they would now extend the online monitoring system to other industries as well.

“Industrial pollution is a cause of major concern not only in Jharkhand but in other states as well. Hence, the online monitoring system would help not only us but also industrial units that can take immediate correctives when required,” he said.

The online monitoring system, a brainchild of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), has to be implemented in all states. Henceforth, it will be linked to granting or renewals of industrial licences.

“After coke plants last year, we are making it mandatory for all cement and power plants from this year. These units won’t be able to deceive the pollution board once online monitoring kicks off as we will be able to keep a check on wrongdoings, if any,” said JSPCB member secretary Sanjay Sinha.

According to JSPCB, Jharkhand is host to three big cement plants, JP, Lafarge and AC Cement, besides a few low-capacity units. There are around 11-12 power plants, including Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS) (Jharkhand State Electricity Board), Maithon Power Ltd (Tata-DVC JV), Chandrapura Thermal Power Station (DVC).

In case of chimney dust, the permissible limit for power plants is 100mg per cubic metre — this means in one metre cube of smoke emitted there should not be more than 100mg dust.

In case of new power plants, CPCB has fixed the limit at 50mg.

“Measure by this yardstick, emissions by all the three power plants exceed permissible limits. Also, many power plants have wet dry ash system, which pollutes water. Hence, we have asked them to convert to dry ash system,” said Sudhir Kumar, a CPCB/ JSPCB engineer.

On the monitoring system, Sinha said online devices would be supplied by the pollution board, but the cost of installation, ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8 lakh, would have to be borne by companies.

“We have already asked cement and power plants to install online air quality monitoring system. We need the cooperation of all stake-holders to ensure pure air, water and a pollution-free ambience,” Sinha added.