Implementation of graded action plan won’t stop, says environment secretary
The Commission will direct various organisations under the state government, including pollution control boards, municipal commissions, and road and building departments, environment secretary RP Gupta said.Updated: Oct 30, 2020, 05:33 IST
India’s environment secretary RP Gupta spoke to Jayashree Nandi about the new law to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region, and what it aims to achieve. Edited excerpts:
We are already in the middle of peak pollution season. How will the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) meant to tackle air pollution be implemented now that a new law is in place?
The Commission will be constituted immediately and take Grap forward. The implementation of Grap will not stop under the ordinance.
The Commission is a centralised body. Do you think state governments will be happy with such a structure, and accept both your directions and penalties if contraventions arise?
The Commission will direct various organisations under the state government, including pollution control boards, municipal commissions, and road and building departments. They are not meant for the state governments directly. There are powers, and action can be taken if the need arises -- but this is a collaborative and coordinated effort. Why should we think the states will not follow the Commission?
Why did you have to bring in an ordinance and not wait until it’s passed in Parliament?
This was urgent. Then we had to wait for Parliament. The winter period is crucial.
Are you waiting for the Supreme Court’s approval or comments on the Commission?
Any law or ordinance passed by government is valid until SC declares it unconstitutional. Why should we have any such apprehension?
The only place where people can appeal against orders of the Commission is National Green Tribunal. Why so?
The provision of appeal should be there in any law. It’s legal and justifiable.
When did you start planning this ordinance?
Its been one to one-and-a-half months. There was a lot of ad-hocism, and something was needed. Epca [the SC-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority] was not able to function in a comprehensive manner in coordination with states.