November 12, 2011 admin

Impact of power generators on air pollution in Amritsar

Prabhdial Singh Randhawa

Impact of power generators on air pollution in Amritsar People are suffering from power cuts in the holy city daily. Some sections of the society have installed personnel generators based on diesel & petrol, while some others are facing with this daily problem by installing battery based inverters. Poor people are facing this with natural techniques i.e. excessive intake of water stored in (katcha Ghara) ,hand fans in day time & candles & hand batteries in the night during summer & layering of clothes & burning fire to warm during winter. The poor are facing atrocities of the power cuts & pollution ( emissions & noise) caused by the generators in their locality. Emissions & noise created by these sets are rarely within laid limits. Installations do not fulfill requisite standards as per B.I.S.

In bazaars surrounding Golden Temple  like Guru Bazar which are congested & over crowded during business hours all the shops have provisions of alternative personnel arrangement like generators, every shop, office, Bank & house gets it on leading to increase in noise, heat & smoke emissions. Thickly populated residential area, bazaars & streets create & face indoor & outdoor air pollution.

Vehicular emissions due to three wheelers  in the city plying on sub standard fuel added in above mentioned pollution along with other sources are leading to reported impact on Golden Temple . This complex is the hub of the city & pollution in this area is an inconvenience to the visitors & pilgrims which reach in lakhs daily. Residents of the historical city are suffering from Eye, Skin, Heart, Hearing, Lungs, Asthama & Bronchitis caused by the pollution.

Honourble Supreme Court of India writ petition (civil) No. 72 of 1998 in Re: Noise Pollution with Appeal No. 3735 of 2005 arising out of SLP (c) No. 21851/2003 had given the judgment. On the basis of this Judgment Punjab Govt. vide letterNo.3/157/2003/STE-4/2763 date 03-08-05 addressed to all the Deputy Commissioners in the state mentioned at item (ii) of the letter as follows:

The Executive Officers of the Municipal Committees, Block Development Officers & District Town planners be included in the District. Noise Monitoring Cell immediately.. The meetings of District Monitoring Cell be held on 1st Monday of every month & progress be sent to State Govt. immediately so that the same can be reviewed on the 2nd Monday of every month in the meeting of State level Noise Monitoring Cell.

As informed vide letter No.3?86/05-STE (4)665 dated Chandigarh the 28/2 /08 only four meetings of State level Noise Monitoring Cell have been held on i.e. on 29-09-05, 11-11-05, 18-04-06 &19-09-2007 .

 Similarly only two meetings of Amritsar District Monitoring Cell i.e. on 05-10-05 & 20-04-2007 have been held as informed by PIO D C office.

As per orders of Punjab Govt mentioned above regular meetings have not been conducted at the state & District level Cells. This is an indication of the seriousness of the authorities regarding noise control caused by generator sets & other sources.

Pollution control Committee Amritsar a registered NGO vide its letters dated 12-04 -2000 & 20-06-2001 requested The Deputy Commissioner Amritsar  for catagerization of  the holy city Amritsar into Industrial, Commercial, Residential & Silence Zones under the Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules 2000.


Inspite of large number of generator sets installed in the bazaars near Hospitals, Courts  & educational institutions Authorities are silent due to reasons best known to them. Decision of the appex Court is not being implemented to relieve  people of the nuisance caused by Noise.

For safeguard of Golden Temple on the lines of Taj Mahal at Agra a study was being carried out by Punjab Pollution Control Board Patiala last year. Findings of the study are not yet made public.

On the one hand we have central power grid organized at a very large scale & on the other hand we have individuals using highly polluting generator sets. Why can not a methodology be developed where we have power back up system for a locality or a bazaar which is planned & approved as per norms.

As far as the enforcement is concerned, nobody has even given it a thought and even if they had, it was a half-hearted attempt. The government machinery can take effective measures if it starts removing all below standard generators from government agency/establishments. Solar system can be alternatively designed collectively.Renundant power generating system near Forest office Amritsar on UBD Canal can be restarted based on new technology.

Emission of smoke by generators can be prevented if these are properly installed. Diesel engines can suffer damage like internal glazing when hot combustion gases blow past poorly-sealing piston rings, causing the lubricating oil on the cylinder walls to flash burn, creating an enamel-like glaze which smoothes the bore and removes the affect of honing marks and carbon buildup because of its misapplication and misuse.

Further, running of an engine under low speed/electric load can cause low cylinder pressure and consequent poor piston ring, sealing combustion pressure and temperature. Poor combustion leads to soot formation and unburnt fuel residues that clog and gum piston rings.

In order to prevent the formation of soot because of misuse, it becomes necessary for the government and the local administration to make it mandatory to organise seminars and awareness camps in this regard.

If residents curse the government and the electricity department for the rise in smoke or noise pollution due to generator sets, they are right as both have failed to monitor the regular supply of electricity.

In order to regulate the supply of power, they have been forced or bound to find an alternative by way of installation of generator sets.

Having no other technological advancement in the sector of electricity production equipment, they are using smoke formatting generator sets even as the emission of soot by way of burning diesel produces large amounts of hydrocarbons, both aliphatic (methane, ethane, ethylene, acetylene) and aromatic (benzene and its derivates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and terpene).

In order to save the environment and to cut rising costs of production, the government should initiate a way to monitor the regular supply of electricity and should also try to look for alternative technology with regard to electricity.

Above all the most impotant aspect is that the generators used by malls/showrooms should be of international standard

 — Prabhdial Singh Randhawa
Retired Sr Lecturer Civil Engineering
General Secretary
Pollution Control Committee ,
Regd. No. 1025 dt:
5-Shori Nagar, P.O. R &S Mills,
Amritsar– 143104 (India).


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