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Despite order, power companies not using treated waste water in Maharastra
Even though the Union ministry of power has made it mandatory for power plants situated within 50km radius of a municipal corporation to use treated waste water, not many power companies are following the directive. At present, only five power plants in the state are either using treated waste water or are in the process of doing so.
The notification in this regard was issued in January this year, but other power plants are not taking any steps to follow it.
Power generation officials say that the main reason for reluctance to use treated waste water was its cost. "Treated waste water is minimum four times costlier than raw water. If we start using treated water then cost of power generation will go up and MSEDCL will stop buying our power," a Mahagenco official told TOI.
The official further said that Koradi plant's new units were using treated waste water and there were plans to use Nanded's waste water for the water-starved Parli power plant. "Parli plant is closed since last almost three years due to water shortage. Even then, we are not very keen on using Nanded water because it will sharply increase cost of power," he added.
Three more power plants of Mahagenco — Khaparkheda, Chandrapur and Paras — fall within 50km radius of a municipal corporation and should use treated water, but the company has no plans for the same.
RattanIndia, whose Amravati power plant is about 20km from the city, should also use waste water but no steps are being taken to meet the requirement. A senior official of RattanIndia said that Amravati was not a big city and the sewage generated by it was not enough to meet the plant's requirement.
A source in the water recycling industry said that power companies were not considering the larger picture. "Over 20% diseases in the country spread due to polluted water. The country spends 10,000 crore every year on treating these diseases," he said.
"Power plants are not using treated water because they get raw water at a negligible cost. If you construct a new dam for a power plant then the cost of raw water will be 60 per cubic metre. On the other hand, treated water costs only about 25 per cubic metre. However, raw water is subsidized by the government making it cheaper than treated water," he added.
Environmentalist Sudhir Paliwal said that sooner or later power companies will have to fall in line. "The ministry of environment and forests has put restrictions on use of raw water by power units and now generation companies will have to use waste water to bridge the deficit," he added.