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Without solar panel, no nod to big building plan

According to reports, the state environment department has asked the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to enforce ‘green norms’ at the time of sanctioning building plans of big housing projects.

According to rules, realtors need to take a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the West Bengal Pollution Control Board (WBPCB), a wing of the state environment department, if the total area of construction exceeds 20,000sqm. Based on this NOC, the KMC buildings department issues the ‘sanctioned building plan’.

Setting up solar panels as an alternative source of energy is now one of the laid-down norms for realtors or plot owners for obtaining the NOC from WBPCB. Some other factors that need to be adopted to be eligible for obtaining the NOC include a comprehensive waste management policy and planting trees in the open keeping adequate provision and space for the disaster management unit in case of emergency.

However, of all these, the environment department has stressed on solar panels the most. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said necessary instructions have been sent to the KMC buildings department for strictly following the green norms, including setting up of solar panels on the rooftop of multi-storied buildings.

The WBPCB is now taking up a project to install rooftop solar panels in 100 schools across different districts of the state. The schools are yet to be selected.

“We will follow the government’s instructions on the schools at which the solar panels will be installed,” said WBPCB chairman Binay Kanti Dutta. The project cost has been pegged at around Rs 3 crore.

The project is aimed not only at creating a pollution-free environment in schools, but also to generate awareness among students on the benefits of solar energy. The WBPCB authorities will look into the maintenance of the solar panels.

Till now, only the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) and the West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation (WBGEDC) have been taking some initiatives to develop and promote renewable energy, specially solar power. The state government is now giving much stress to develop solar power and different government departments and agencies like the state power department, WBPCB, state public health engineering (PHE) and even the agriculture department have taken up work of developing use of solar power by installing solar pumps, solar roof top panels and other such works.

Already WBREDA has been working to install roof top solar panels and a total of about 10 KW solar power panels have been installed in about 70 odd schools in and around the city while work is going on in some other schools as well.

State power minister Manish Gupta recently said that the department has started working on some mega schemes for roof top solar panels in the city. Ashden India Renewable Energy Collective – a group of Indian Ashden award winners headed by solar power expert S.P Gon Chaudhuri has taken up the job to prepare a rooftop solar power policy for Kolkata. The group has got sanction of 22 lakh DFID funds for preparing the policy.

In Rajarhat New Town, The New Town Kolkata Development Authority has already made it mandatory for all commercial and residential highrises to install solar rooftop systems to meet at least 2% of the buildings’ electrical load requirement.

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