Regulatory body warns Delhi-NCR government agencies of criminal action if they fail to curb air pollution
The move came after Harsh Vardhan, union environment minister, directed the CPCB on October 27 to initiate criminal proceedings against government agencies that failed to take action against polluting sources even after being informed.Updated: Nov 22, 2018 12:06 IST
Labelling the actions taken by government agencies to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR ‘grossly inadequate’ amounting to ‘criminal’ negligence’, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has sent notices to construction agencies, civic bodies and land holding agencies, warning them of criminal proceedings if they fail to take action against polluting sources despite being informed.
The country’s apex pollution monitoring and control body has also come up with a checklist, which government agencies have to follow to curb pollution. This includes penalising land-owning agencies if garbage is burnt on their land, preparing winter-specific plans for construction sites and submitting details of construction sites to the CPCB.
“Poor air quality affects the health of people and it has been observed that actions taken by construction agencies, municipal corporations and land holding agencies continue to be grossly inadequate in Delhi-NCR, which amounts to criminal negligence,”read the CPCB notice.
The move came after Harsh Vardhan, union environment minister, directed the CPCB on October 27 to initiate criminal proceedings against government agencies that failed to take action against polluting sources even after being informed.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that despite a 10-day ban on construction and demolition (C&D) activities in November, the C&D sector continued to be the highest violator in Delhi and NCR towns. It was followed by complaints against open dumping of garbage, open garbage burning and dust from unpaved roads.
“But when it came to taking actions by government agencies, the implementation score (action taken score) was less than 10% in both Delhi and NCR towns from September 15 to October 15. While Delhi’s score was 4.92%, Noida had the best score of 7.36%,” a CPCB official said.
The CPCB has also directed government agencies and departments involved in construction activities such as the National Highways Authority of India, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the Central Public Works Department, the NBCC and the DDA to come up with winter-specific action plans for construction sites that could be implemented in future.
“The agencies have been asked to submit a list of ongoing construction sites to the CPCB and state pollution boards. C&D agencies have also been asked to make a list of dust mitigation measures that have been undertaken and display them prominently for the public to see,” the official said.
Separate notices have been sent to civic agencies warning them of penalties if garbage is found being burnt openly. Municipal bodies have been directed to deploy special teams to ensure there is no open dumping and open burning on their lands.
“Failure to comply with these directions shall make defaulting agencies and individuals liable to criminal prosecution, which would be initiated by the CPCB,” a senior official said.
First Published: Nov 22, 2018 10:23 IST