The struggle to phase out coal in Delhi NCR

Industries using coal contribute to over a tenth of the National Capital Region’s air pollution. But many are resisting efforts to switch to cleaner alternatives.

Sitting in a chai shop in Panipat, a group of people animatedly discuss how the city’s textile industry is on its knees. They speak of the back-to-back blows they’ve suffered the last few years: demonetization, COVID-19 lockdowns and the war in Europe. If that wasn’t enough, the ban on the use of coal as fuel from 30 September has shut down most factories.

“I had 150 labourers working under me,” says Nanhe Master, a supervisor at a local factory. “Today, I can barely retain 9-10.”

“We’re losing lakhs every day,” says Suman Jha, a factory owner. “If this continues, we’ll …


Omkar Khandekar

Omkar specializes in long-form narrative features and has reported from India, the UK, Germany and the Maldives. He writes across beats, from politics and crime to cinema and sports. His works have been published in Indian and international outlets including The Caravan, Mint Lounge, the BBC, Al Jazeera and The Huffington Post.

Senior Features Writer