Widening the ambit of the case against rising air pollution in Delhi, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday issued notice to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, asking them what steps were being taken to combat the menace.
The NGT bench, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, also directed states to submit information on the density of vehicles and air quality readings by May 1 and come up with suggestions to improve air quality .Citing examples of cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai, the bench sought details of what they were doing to deal with the issue.
The bench was hearing a petition by lawyer Vardhaman Kaushik on high air pollution levels in Delhi. Kaushik’s plea was merged with a case filed by Agra-based pediatric surgeon Dr Sanjay Kulshrestha who said severe air pollution levels across the country were not just affecting newborns but also fetuses. Since the cases have been combined, the bench decided to involve the rest of country in responding with possible solutions.
With regard to the capital, NGT directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Central Pollution Control Board to monitor emissions at the Badarpur and Rajghat thermal power plants.
The bench also enquired about the enforcement of parking rules in Karol Bagh and Lajpat Nagar and directed municipal corporations to come up with parking space solutions as soon as possible.It demanded a clarification from the Rajasthan and Haryana governments as well on why trucks plying through NCR were not checked for emissions and fitness.
Earlier this week, NGT had stayed for two weeks its earlier order of impounding diesel vehicles more than 10 years old plying in Delhi. It has sought suggestions from various agencies in Delhi government on better implementation of its order by May 1.
The case has seen a number of landmark orders in the past few months as NGT took up the issue of air pollution actively . In November last year, while hearing the matter, the bench had issued a 14point directive which included a ban on petrol and diesel vehicles older than 15 years -a move that’s likely to take an estimated 10 lakh vehicles off the road. It also barred burning of waste in the open besides placing restrictions on parking and ordering stricter vigil on overloaded trucks entering the city.
Apr 18 2015 : The Times of India (Delhi)