ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Dark and Toxic under the Lamp

Industrial Pollution and Health Damage in Singrauli

The Singrauli region produces 16% of coal and 13% of thermal power in India. Various state and non-state institutions have examined the consequent regional pollution. This paper attempts to document the health damage to the regional population. A survey of 4,383 families in southern Sonbhadra district yielded data on select health impacts, which were then mapped to correlate to the industrial gaseous emissions. The consequent economic losses were calculated using the procedure outlined in the Employee’s Compensation Act, 1923 and court judgments. These economic externalities borne by the local population range from 23 to 124 times the total environmental compensation that courts have so far ordered industries to pay to the state for environmental remediation.

The author is indebted to the workers of Banwasi Seva Ashram who carried out all the fi eldwork and provided observations, insights and suggestions that guided this study.


The ongoing crisis of air pollution in Delhi has resulted in a slew of measures by the federal government. This included the closure of six thermal power plants around Delhi in November 2021 (Chaudhary and Pradhan 2021), the phased introduction of 2,300 electric buses (Livemint 2022), and the continued expansion of the Delhi Metro network. All these measures have direct implications for the demand and supply of electricity in Delhi, which generates only about 20%–25% of its electricity requirement at upwards of 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) (Central Electricity Authority [CEA] 2020; Planning Department 2022).1 Where, then, does the bulk of Delhi’s electricity come from?

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Updated On : 4th Mar, 2023
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