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Dec 13, 2019-Friday



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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Lok Sabha speaker summons Delhi officials for skipping House panel meeting on pollution

cities Updated: Nov 19, 2019 23:04 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

New Delhi: Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla on Tuesday summoned and reprimanded five officials of top Delhi government agencies after they failed to attend a meeting of a parliamentary standing committee last week on the air pollution choking the capital.

Parliament officials said the top brass of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the New Delhi, South and East Delhi municipal bodies were summoned by Birla after Jagbambika Pal, chairman of the parliamentary committee on urban development, apprised the speaker about officials and some members of Parliament skipping the meeting.

The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Pal said.

According to Lok Sabha officials, Birla warned officials of the agencies against skipping any such meetings in the future. He also reminded them that Parliamentary committee meetings could not be taken lightly.

Birla also sought to know why these agencies failed to send their representatives to the meeting, rejecting their excuses, the officials added on condition of anonymity.

According to one official, Pal met Birla on Saturday and shared the details of the planned meeting that had to be postponed due to low attendance. “Birla was not happy to hear that a meeting could not take place due to lack of quorum as many MPs were absent,” this official said. The speaker may want to know the reasons for the absence of the MPs, he added.

About six MPs came to attend the meeting of the parliamentary committee on urban development, which has 29 members. Commissioners of the municipal corporations, and the heads of DDA and DJB did not make themselves present.

When contacted, many of them said they were busy at other events. The national capital has experienced hazardous air quality on several days this season, with the Supreme Court pulling up the authorities for not doing enough to tackle the pollution, aggravated by post-harvest stubble burning by farmers in neighbouring states like Punjab and Haryana.

The official said some members had taken prior permission from Pal to skip the meeting. The speaker may like to reiterate to all panel members the need to take such meetings more seriously, he added.