Need long-term steps to avoid an ‘emergency-like’ situation in Delhi, SC tells EPCA
The Supreme Court on Monday also sought response from the Centre, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and MCDs on steps taken to curb rising pollutiondelhi Updated: Nov 15, 2017 12:42 IST
Taking note of the toxic haze that has engulfed Delhi for more than a week, the Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and MCDs on steps taken to curb rising pollution, including stubble burning, in the Capital and the National Capital Region (NCR).
The top court, in another hearing, also asked the Environment Control Pollution Authority (ECPA) to suggest long-term measures to avoid an “emergency-like” situation in Delhi, saying its report was reactive in nature.
In the first case, while hearing a PIL filed by advocate RK Kapoor, a bench led by chief justice Dipak Misra did not stop any other court from hearing cases related to Delhi pollution. “Any court seized of the matter should not stop hearing it,” the bench said, making it clear that the National Green Tribunal and the Delhi High Court can continue to hear petitions before them.
In a related development, another bench headed by Justice MB Lokur refused to lift the ban it had ordered on industrial usage of pet coke and furnace oil in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. It said its order was not just restricted to districts falling in the NCR but was applicable to the entire state.
The explanation came after the bench was informed that the court-appointed committee, ECPA, had issued an order claiming the ban order was meant for industries located in the NCR.
“Its (the ban) is not the only measure to prevent pollution. We need a series of measures. Don’t say that the ban has not been effective,” the bench told the counsel for industries who wanted the court to lift the ban. The lawyer argued that despite the ban, pollution levels in Delhi had spiked.
The court asked the ECPA to suggest long-term measures to avoid an “emergency-like” situation in Delhi. “Your report is reactive in nature. It carries suggestions to be implemented when the air quality is severe. Why don’t you give steps to be taken to prevent the occurrence of such a situation,” the bench said.
To this advocate, Aparjita Singh, assisting the bench, said the EPCA had been issuing directives, which authorities are refusing to follow.
Singh informed the bench that the EPCA had in August last released Rs 2 crore to enable the Delhi government issue tenders for installing RIFD tags on trucks so that they do not enter the Capital.
“The total amount of the project was Rs 102 crore. But the authorities still have not called for the tenders,” she complained.