Operators of coal-fired utilities including state-run NTPC Ltd and industry groups representing private companies such as Reliance Power and Adani Power have long been lobbying for dilution of the pollution standards, citing high compliance costs.
The latest notice follows suggestions from the power ministry that plants be given deadlines to adopt norms in line with the severity of pollution in the region where they are located.
A task force will be constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board to categorise plants in three categories "on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms", the environment ministry said in its order.
In case of non-compliance, a penalty of up to 0.20 rupees ($0.0027) will be levied for every unit of electricity produced.
The power ministry said in January that a "graded action plan" could help avoid immediate increase in power prices in various relatively clean areas of India and avoid unnecessary burden on power utilities and consumers.
Indian cities have some of the world's most polluted air.
Thermal power companies, which produce three-fourths of the country's electricity, account for some 80% of its industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulphur- and nitrous-oxides, which cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog.
(This story adds 'back' in headline)
(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Himani Sarkar)
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.