NCR MSMEs seek relaxation from CAQM in curbs on use of diesel gensets | The Financial Express

NCR MSMEs seek relaxation from CAQM in curbs on use of diesel gensets

Ease of doing business for MSMEs: The rules under the revised Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by the government will come into force from October 1.

NCR MSMEs seek relaxation from CAQM in curbs on use of diesel gensets
On Wednesday, MSMEs associations based in NCR, represented by MSME body FISME, came together to jointly sign the petition for submission to CAQM.

Ease of doing business for MSMEs: MSMEs in the national capital region (NCR) have urged the air pollution monitoring body Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to allow the use of diesel generator (DG) sets in areas where average power shutdown is less than 3 per cent instead of a blanket restriction on DG sets aimed at curbing air pollution. The request has been to mitigate any risk of production loss particularly ahead of the expected surge in festive demands. On Wednesday, MSMEs associations based in NCR, represented by MSME body FISME, came together to jointly sign the petition for submission to CAQM.

CAQM in its order dated February 8, 2022 had mandated the use of DG sets, which run on hybrid mode (70 per cent gas-based fuels and 30 per cent diesel), only for a maximum of 2 hours. In areas where gas pipeline infrastructure is not available, DG sets, which are not retrofitted to run on hybrid mode, will be allowed to operate for a maximum of 1 hour. 

The rules under the revised Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by the government will come into force from October 1. “The commission has been highlighting that amongst others, industrial pollution and uncontrolled use of DG sets including in industrial operations are the major contributing factors for deterioration of air quality in the region,” CAQM said. 

“Textiles, steel, paper, food, and pharmaceuticals are among the industries to be impacted the most while the rules with hurt MSMEs across sectors. Currently, MSMEs in Faridabad and Gurugram region haven’t yet shifted to gas-based gensets due to high costs. The industry is anyway operating on 50-52 per cent pre-Covid levels and such guidelines will hurt the growth,” Narendra Aggarwal, Chairman, Environment Panel, Faridabad Industries Association told FE ASPIRE. A 500 KVA DG set costs Rs 30 lakh while gas-based gensets cost Rs 1 crore, according to Aggarwal.

“Industries are forced to use DG sets as the last resort when grid power is not available even for a brief period while they have to also shell out twice the cost for the genset-produced energy. Processes in a large number of industries can’t shut plant instantly and need power back-up even if shutdowns are for a short duration,” the petition read.

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“While the supply of electricity is quite consistent but to say that we are getting reliable power for industries is not true. Moreover, there are chances of machine failure such as boilers, which are used by a number of MSMEs and are fuelled by diesel, in the event of power failure,” Sumit Rao, Chairman, Committee for Pollution Control, Gurgaon Industrial Association told FEASPIRE.

Importantly, CAQM noted that owing to interruptions in the regular power supply, units are compelled to resort to DG sets and that certain “continuous industrial processes and production set-ups” demand un-interrupted power in the interest of “salvaging the in-process inventories and semi-finished products. However, “it is also very important to prevent, control and abate air pollution caused by the DG sets in the region,” it added.

“We don’t want to run DG sets if there is no interruption in power supply. Power cut not just due to shortage of supply but also due to let’s say, fault in lines or some repair work significantly impacts the collective production of units in an area,” Sanjeev Gupta, Member Central Executive Committee, Indian Industries Association (IIA) told FEASPIRE. IIA represents MSMEs in Uttar Pradesh.  

According to the data shared by Gupta, the average monthly power cut in 14 NCR districts of Uttar Pradesh in September was 30 minutes while in rural areas, the average monthly cut is nearly seven hours. Particularly in Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar (Noida and Greater Noida), the average monthly power cut stood at 18 minutes and 14 minutes respectively.

Also read: Why formalisation of MSMEs is needed on a war footing to solve credit, other challenges

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