The Commission of Air Quality Management (CAQM) has given a partial reprieve to industrial units of Faridabad by allowing factories to run eight hours a day, five days a week and use diesel generator sets in case of power outages. The Haryana Pollution Control Board, on behalf of the Commission of Air Quality Management constituted by the Central government, had ordered the shutdown of industries as part of a pollution control drive last week.

The permission will allow Faridabad-based Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices Ltd (HMD), India's largest syringes and needles manufacturing company, to operate its units and ensure sufficient supply of syringes for India’s vaccination programmes, particularly Covid-19. HMD, which contributes to over 66% of syringe supplies in India for curative healthcare and immunisation, had approached the Prime Minister’s Office and other administrative ministries to ensure that production of syringes does not stop. “We are thankful to CAQM for allowing us to run our plants and continuing to serve the public with much-needed DispoVandisposable syringes and Kojak AD syringes. It’s a major reprieve and we appreciate the quick decision and the rational approach,” says Rajiv Nath, managing director, HMD.

Incidentally, HMD is among the firms that have captive PNG-based power generation capabilities and use diesel genset only as standby in its large plants. “PNG genset is good for most of our larger plant needs but not for our smaller plants as yet where there are also space and technological constraints. PNG is not only environment-friendly, but also has cost advantages at ₹13.90 per unit over diesel-generated power at ₹24 per unit. While no one will want to run on expensive diesel genset (even if they meet the emission norms with the appropriate chimney heights) that cost ₹24 per unit, compared to government-supplied power at ₹9, we hope we are allowed to do that in very rare circumstances going forward as is permitted for hospitals to ensure optimal plant operational efficiencies, since cost of change-overs, machine restarts in a highly automated process leads to not only higher wastages, rejections and downtimes, but also a higher risk of patient safety from certain manufacturing defects,” says Nath.

According to Nath, the Faridabad industry hopes the Haryana government will improve its operational efficiency and cost effectiveness of delivery of power as is being done in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. “Like power is made available to farmers on priority during sowing season, regular uninterrupted high-quality power should be made available to Delhi-NCR region from October to February to ensure the heavily industrialised zone need not run on backup captive power generation.”

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