The National Green Tribunal on Friday slammed the Delhi government for not introducing destination buses to help improve air quality in the national capital.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar directed the chief secretary of Delhi government to explain why point-to-point bus services have not been started till date despite its order passed in 2016.
“Do you (Delhi government) know the state of affairs in Delhi? Children are not able to breathe fresh air and are going to hospitals every week. This is what you want for your children?” the court asked.
“Why have you not started destination buses despite our specific orders? The chief secretary of Delhi is directed to submit as to why destination buses in terms of our orders have not been introduced so far,” the court said.
Destination buses are the ones which ply from one point to another without any halts in between the journey.
The green court lambasted the Delhi government after its counsel submitted that there was shortage of buses and said, “It is evident that a large number of buses are standing along the Yamuna at the depot. We see no reason why state authorities have not implemented our order so far.”
The court said introduction of destination buses would facilitate an individual to opt for such a service rather than drive a car alone on highly congested roads.
It also said that such point-to-point buses would result in reducing jams as a large number of people from places such as Dwarka and Rohini come to offices in Central Delhi.
“These buses would provide an economical alternative to people to avoid use of private cars and will have direct benefits to reduce congestion and improve the ambient air quality,” the bench said.
The NGT directions came during the hearing of a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey, who has sought independent monitoring of air quality index and also claiming that vehicular emission was not a major contributing factor to pollution. The mater is now listed for the next hearing on April 29.
During the last hearing the NGT said, “The traffic on roads of Delhi needs to be reduced by taking various measures that have already been directed to be taken by various authorities including introduction of destination buses which could certainly help particularly the middle class and single driver from opting for destination buses rather than driving a car individually on highly congested roads of Delhi.”
It had also asked the AAP government to provide incentives to those using public transport in order to encourage them.