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Freshwater-based coal power plants guzzle the most water: CSE

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New Delhi, Aug 27: Even six years after the water consumption norms came into force, the water-guzzling coal power industry is ignoring water regulations and there is a high degree of non-compliance observed in the sector, a new report by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) says.

Counted among the most water-intensive industries in India, the coal power sector is responsible for nearly 70 per cent of the total freshwater withdrawal by all industries in the country. Indian power plants with cooling towers consume twice as much water as their global counterparts, said the report titled ‘Water Inefficient Power’.

According to the 2015 norms (revised again in 2018), plants installed before January 1, 2017, were required to meet a specific water consumption limit of 3.5 cubic metre of water per MWh; plants installed after January 1, 2017 had to meet the norm of three cubic metre of water per MWh, apart from adopting zero liquid discharge.

Additionally, all freshwater-based plants were required to install cooling towers and subsequently achieve the norm of 3.5 cubic metre of water per MWh. All sea water-based plants were exempted from meeting the norms.

The deadline to meet the water norms was December 2017 which has already passed. The water norms for coal power plants were introduced in 2015 along with the emission norms. Though emission norms timelines for the sector were revised twice by the Ministry of Coal once in 2017 and recently in 2021, the issue of compliance and implementation of water norms has been completely overlooked, the CSE said in a release.

CSE’s programme Director for Industrial Pollution Unit, Nivit Kumar Yadav, said, “This is when many power producing regions of the country are facing acute water shortage. Also there is huge water pollution due to the effluent discharge by the power plants.”

The CSE surveyed more than 154 GW of total coal power capacity and found nearly 50 per cent of the freshwater-based plants to be non-complying. Most of these plants belong to state-owned companies.

The largest number of non-complying plants were from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. Belonging to MahaGENCO (Maharashtra’s power generation company) and UPRVUNL (Uttar Pradesh’s power generation company), a majority of these plants are old with inefficient practices which lead to water wastage.

The CSE survey has found that old and inefficient once-through cooling water-based plants in India continue to operate without installing cooling towers. These plants are not just flouting water norms but also emission norms, the survey added.

Built before 1999, all once-through-based power plants in India are old and polluting. Many of these plants were identified for retirement but have not yet been retired. They continue to operate with no plans to upgrade or install either emission control equipment or cooling towers.

“Allowing these older plants to continue to pollute cannot be an option. Plants identified for retirement must be closed down immediately if they have no plans to retrofit or to install emission control technologies and/or cooling towers,” said Deputy Programme Manager, Industrial Pollution unit of CSE, Sugandha Arora.

As per the CSE’s recent estimates, nearly 48 per cent of India’s existing coal power fleet is located in water-scarce districts like Nagpur and Chandrapur in Maharashtra; Raichur in Karnataka; Korba in Chhattisgarh; Barmer and Baran in Rajasthan; Khammam and Kothagudem in Telangana; and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. There have been reports of conflicts over water use between industries and local people.

“This sector has a massive water footprint and therefore, all efforts must be made to mitigate this impact. There is huge scope of reducing the sector’s water demand by ensuring implementation of the 2015 standards and addressing the challenges related to accurate reporting of data, old inefficient once-through cooling plants and implementing zero discharge in newer plants.”

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Call me “Dada”, not “Sir”, Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb to employees

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Agartala: In what appears to be a step to boost the morale of the government employees, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Sunday asked the government employees to call him “Dada” instead of “Sir”. “Call me Dada, not sir. It enhances the warmth of the relationship”, Deb told a gathering of government employees.

Deb exhorted the government employees of the state especially ASHA and Anganwadi workers of the state asking them not to dishearten as the state government was eager to improve their pay structure.

“I salute the ASHA and Anganwadi workers of my state. The level of dedication that my sisters have shown during the pandemic period deserved applause. I know, they want to hear good news from me and I am assuring you all that this government will not disappoint anyone”, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb told a gathering of government employees at Badharghat sports school field organized by Vivekananda Vicha Manch (VVM).

VVM has emerged as a big platform of government employees, of late, and Sunday’s public rally was its first big gathering to thank the Chief Minister for the series of steps his government took for the welfare of the employees.

“I know what challenges you people are facing. Nothing is hidden in front of me. I am assuring you all everything will be taken care of in the due course of time”, he added.  Lauding the efforts of government employees Deb said, without them no government office can function.

“Due to the efforts of government employees, people can access the benefits of the state sponsored welfare schemes. But, for a prolonged period the employees did not get their right to do something freely. They were trapped in the clutches of unions. In the previous regime, Left sponsored unions used to enjoy supreme power which had reduced the whole work culture of the state to tatters. In 2018, you people showed courage and voted BJP to power”, said Deb.

“Despite fund constraints, the state government is positively working on the issues of DA and other factors pertaining to the interest of the government employees. Our government has already addressed a number of issues related to financial benefits. The ad-hoc promotion, increment for Group D, Group C employees, regularization of SSA teachers, seventh pay scale, UGC scale for professors, special benefit for LTC are to name a few. All these indicate what we want to do and we shall do what we promise”, the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also asked the officials not to call him “sir” suggesting them to refer to him as “Dada” as it makes the relationship stronger and cherished. The Chief Minister also distributed clothes among children of Badharghat sports school during the programme. State BJP President Manik Saha, Minister Ram Prasad Paul, Minister Sushanta Chowdhury, MLA Mimi Majumder, state BJP Vice President and president of Vivekananda Vichar Manch Rajib Bhattacharjee also spoke on the occasion.

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MoS home’s son Ashish Mishra sent to judicial custody for 14 days

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Lakhimpur: Son of Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra, Ashish Mishra, was produced before a court here late on the night of October 9, 2021, which sent him to 14-day judicial custody in connection with the October 3 Lakhimpur violence.

After around 12 hours of questioning in connection with the violence in which eight persons including four farmers were killed, a medical team examined Ashish Mishra in the crime branch office, after which he was taken for production before a judicial magistrate, who sent him to custody, senior prosecution officer SP Yadav.

He said an application for police remand of Ashish Mishra was submitted to the judicial magistrate who fixed it for hearing at 11 AM on October 11, 2021. Ashish Mishra was named in an FIR following allegations that he was in one of the vehicles that mowed down four farmers protesting over UP Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s visit last Sunday.

Farmer leaders and opposition parties had been demanding Mishra’s arrest but the minister and his son had denied the allegations.
Two BJP workers and their driver were allegedly lynched by angry farmers in the incident. Local journalist Raman Kashyap also died in the violence, which has triggered a political storm and put the BJP government on the back foot in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

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Mayawati questions the Congress on the killing of Dalit in Rajasthan

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Lucknow: Selective outrage of the Congress is always criticised and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on October 10, 2021 took on the Congress and termed as “condemnable” the incidence of a Dalit person being beaten to death in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh. The former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh questioned the silence of the Congress.

A Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death on October 7, 2021 by a group of men in Hanumangarh over his love affair, the Rajasthan police said. Three people have been detained in connection with the case on Saturday. There are several such cases on which the Congress keep blind eye.

Mayawati said: “Will the Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Punjab go there and give Rs 50 lakh to the victim’s family? The BSP demands an answer, otherwise it should stop shedding crocodile tears in the name of the Dalits.”

On the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, she tweeted, “The cropping up of the name of the son of the Union minister in the Lakhimpur violence raises questions on the working style of the BJP government.” The BJP should sack the minister as only then will there be any hope of justice for the aggrieved farmers, she added.
Mayawati also said terrorists are killing innocent people almost everyday in Jammu and Kashmir, which is very sad and shameful. The BSP demands that the Centre should take some strong steps in this regard.

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