New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Slamming the Centre and Delhi government for blaming the corporations and farm fires for the rising pollution levels in the national capital, the Supreme Court on Monday said that lame excuses will force it to hold an audit of earnings and expenditure on popularity slogans of the Delhi government. "There is no basis for hue and cry about farm fires when stubble burning contributes to only 4 per cent of air pollution", the top court added. 

A bench of the Supreme Court comprising of CJI NV Ramana, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Kant further asked the Centre and state government to respond by tomorrow evening over which industries can be stopped, which vehicles can be prevented from plying and which power plants can be stopped, and how they can provide alternative power by then.

The apex court also directed the Centre to call for an emergency meeting tomorrow over issues like stopping construction, non-essential transport, power plants and implementing work from home to deal with air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Adjourning the matter till November 17, the Supreme Court also directed the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to be present in tomorrow's emergency meeting with the Centre. 

"The affidavit filed by respondents and after hearing we come to the conclusion the major culprits of pollution are construction activity, industry, tansport, power and vehicular traffic apart from stubble burning in some parts. Even though some decisions were taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act has not indicated precisely what steps they are going to take to control factors that are causing air pollution", the top court said.

"In view of that, we direct the government of India to a call for an emergency meeting tomorrow and discuss the areas which we indicated and what orders they can pass to effectively control air pollution. So far, as stubble burning is concerned, broadly affidavits state that their contribution is not so much except for two months. However, at present a good amount of stubble burning is taking place in Haryana and Punjab," it added.

The top court also asked the state governments of Punjab and Haryana to pursue the farmers for two weeks not to do stubble burning. "We direct the government of India, NCR states to examine introducing work from home for employees," the bench said

Earlier in the day, the Delhi government has told the Supreme Court that it is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control the local emission, which would help in bringing down the air pollution in the national capital, but added that it will have only a limited impact.

In an affidavit, the Delhi government said, "GNCTD is ready to take steps like complete lockdown to control local emissions. However, such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in neighbouring states. Given Delhi's compact size, a lockdown would have limited impact on the air quality regime".


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan