Supreme Court’s ban on pet coke, furnace oil to leave 25 lakh workers jobless, claims Assocham

In order to combat rising air pollution in Delhi, the Supreme Court on 24th October banned the usage of pet coke and furnace oil in the National Capital Region’s industries from 1st November. The apex court in that hearing also lashed out at the Central government for not complying with its order to set emission standards for industries.

Now such a ban on pet coke and furnace oil hasn’t been welcomed by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) which is one of the largest trade associations of India.

As per reports, Assocham in a statement on Monday stated that such a ban in the National Capital Region would render about 25 lakh workers jobless in Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurugram, Panipat, Sonipat and Noida.

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Assocham has claimed that about 1000 units and 10,000 allied units have been severely impacted by the Supreme Court ban. The industries which are directly affected are textiles, rubber, sugar, steel, paper, packaging, forging, agro based industries to name a few.

The trade association claimed that the industries are already under tremendous stress post GST and a ban on pet coke’s use would be the final nail in the coffin. The association thus requested that adequate time be given to the industries to migrate from furnace oil, pet coke to gas based alternatives which would save the workers’ livelihood.

It also pointed out that the alternative in Natural Gas is about 4 times more expensive than furnace oil and pet coke which the industry cannot afford in the competitive environment and poor economic scenario.

This ban by the Supreme Court stems from the report provided by the court appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) which had recommended a strict ban on distribution, sale and use of these fuels to curb the pollution in the region.

Assocham in this regards asked as to why no action has been taken by the dust pollution in the capital and questioned why the industry which is always agreeing to comply with the norms is being punished.

Assocham in its press release also laid out technical arguments which claimed that pet coke has been labelled as a pollutant because of its higher Sulphur content and alleged emission of Sulphur Dioxide. It then claimed that as per a Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report, the Sulphur Dioxide levels in the entire NCR region are well within the prescribed limits.

This isn’t the only time the traders have opposed Supreme Court bans.

Soon after the Supreme Court had imposed a ban on the sale of fire crackers till 1st November ( A time duration which coincided with the festival of Diwali), various traders had come out in protest by claiming that they had already invested a huge amount of money and such a ban would cause a huge financial loss.

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