The Ministry of Power has laid down a revised policy for using biomass pellets in coal-burning thermal power plants, thereby encouraging the use of agricultural waste which is otherwise burned by farmers, causing air pollution.
In the decision announced on Friday, it has been made mandatory for three categories of thermal power plants to use five per cent blending of biomass pellets with coal.
With a requirement to increase the proportion of biomass to seven per cent within two years for the two categories of power plants, the policy will come into force in October 2022.
“The policy of co-firing of biomass will remain in force for 25 years or till the useful life of the thermal power plant, whichever is earlier,” the power ministry said in a statement.
Farmers in some northern Indian states burn paddy stalks and straw to prepare the land for sowing during the winter season, causing severe air pollution.
The sharp increase in air pollution during that season often spreads a thick blanket of haze over northern India every year.