Report by PPCB on paddy straw fired power plant, 08/05/2020

Report of Punjab Pollution Control Board in compliance of National Green Tribunal order of January 27, 2020. Darshan Singh, retired engineer of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited had filed an application before the NGT and said that he has prepared a project report to convert coal fired thermal plant at Bathinda to paddy straw fired power plant - which would result in reduction of pollution, taking place on account of burning of paddy straw.

The NGT had converted the said application of Darshan Singh into OA No. 1039 of 2019 titled as Darshan Singh Vs State of Punjab & Others and had passed an order dated January 27, 2020 directing the Punjab State Pollution Control Board and the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited and the Punjab Energy Development Agency to furnish their response.

The Committee constituted for the purpose examined the proposal of Darshan Singh. As per the proposal, the following facts were mentioned with regard to conversion of coal fired thermal plant at Bathinda to paddy straw fired power plant:

a) The cost of conversion of existing coal fired thermal plant to paddy straw fired power plant was lesser as compared to establishing new biomass plants. This would also decrease the cost of power generation resulting in less burden to consumers.

b) Experts have submitted a report to Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPCL) to run this plant on paddy straw exclusively.

PSPCL in its meeting had approved the proposal of conversion of one of its 120 MW coal fired unit into 60 MW coal fired unit in a meeting on November 21, 2018. The proposal was put up to state government on approval in November 2018, which was still pending with the state government.

The report said that the PSPCL should comment on the technical as well as economic viability of the proposal submitted to the state government. The PPCB said that following points should be looked into while implementing the proposal:

1. The state would have to setup exhaustive mechanism/facilities for time bound collection, storage and transportation of stubble generated during the paddy harvesting season, so as to ensure availability of fuel for the thermal power plant throughout the year.

2. Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd. should obtain all statutory clearances and approvals as applicable under the existing pollution control laws.

Note: The report by May 8, 2020 was uploaded to the NGT site on August 7, 2020