The Central Government is promoting the eco-friendly use of ash, especially in ash-based products manufactured by micro and small enterprises. The government has amended the ash utilization notification, originally issued on December 31, 2021. The present notification was published on January 1, 2024.
The decision to amend the notification was prompted by requests from the Ministry of Power and other stakeholders seeking adjustments to enhance the implementation of the provisions outlined in the original notification. The primary objective is to encourage the use of ash for environmentally sustainable purposes, particularly in the production of ash-based products by micro and small enterprises.
In the amended ash utilization notification, specific changes have been made:
- Paragraph B:
- It mandates that coal or lignite-based thermal power plants must give notice to relevant agencies for making ash available. The cost of ash and transportation will be borne by the power plant.
- It also stipulates that all building construction projects within a 300 km radius of a coal or lignite-based thermal power plant must use ash bricks, tiles, sintered ash aggregate, or other ash-based products. These should be offered at prices not exceeding those specified in the Schedule of Rates by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) or Public Works Department (PWD) of the concerned State. The Schedule of Rates is to be published within six months from January 1, 2024.
- Furthermore, there is an additional mandate that all local authorities must incorporate provisions in their building bye-laws and other relevant regulations for the use of ash and ash-based products in construction activities.
- Paragraph D:
- All thermal power plant owners to provide written notice to those required to utilize ash under paragraph B. The ash is to be supplied free of cost, with the power plant bearing the transportation cost. Similar provisions apply to manufacturers of ash-based products.
- An additional direction that coal or lignite-based thermal power plants must reserve a certain percentage of ash for supply to micro and small enterprises engaged in ash-based product manufacturing. This includes bricks, blocks, tiles, sintered or cold-bonded ash aggregates, fibre cement sheets, pipes, boards, and panels. The supply can be at a concessional price or through limited auction, following guidelines issued by the Central Government in the Ministry of Power.
These amendments seek to foster sustainable practices and utilize industrial by-products for constructive purposes. The move aims to strike a balance between environmental conservation and supporting small businesses engaged in ash-based product manufacturing.