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Delhi air pollution: Supreme Court issues notices to states for not complying with steps to curb pollution

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi on the Delhi air pollution matter and asked the Centre and states reasons for the non-compliance of steps that should have been taken to curb air pollution. Apart from the Delhi air pollution, the matter of giving money to the laborers by the court was also dealt with.

The bench led by Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana was hearing the plea on the worsening air situation in Delhi NCR.

Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, submitted that construction has been banned in Delhi-NCR, but the construction work of Central Vista project is still going on.

CJI Ramana said, “We are struggling on how to control air pollution, be it central vista or anything else, don’t think we don’t know anything, we know too,” The bench also sought response from centre as to how the construction on Central Vista project is still going on.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in the meantime submitted that they have filed the affidavit.

Justice N.V. Ramana questioned the Solicitor General if the court will be able to read the affidavit so soon, and stated, “You will file the affidavit and so soon we will be able to read it.”
Hence, the CJI asked the SG to explain the important issues filed in the affidavit.

During the proceedings, the CJI talked about the new variant of coronavirus, he said, “While we are facing the problem of air pollution, the problem of the new variant of corona has also come in it.”
“We are taking different steps for the virus,” said the SG.
The SG submitted that apart from PNG, there is a presence of other fuel-based industries in Delhi NCR, they conducted a surprise check regarding the diesel gensets and found that they were being used for general electricity by malls etc.

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SG submitted further that all the states were instructed by the Air Quality Controlling Committee 6 months ago to all the 5 states to use other fuels or to shift those industries, and despite this the states did not comply with the instructions of the committee.
Justice N.V. Ramana inquired about the compliance of the steps instructed and said, “What happened to its compliance?”

“There is no information about it. We are contemplating that the non-compliance and other institutions should be fined,” the SG submitted.
The CJI said that according to the Center, nothing is happening even after it has given orders to the said states.

The bench while issuing the notice said, “We will issue notices to those states and ask why it is not being implemented?”

UP government submitted that it was controlling the pollution.

To which CJI Ramana said that “You should tell what has been done on instructions given by the Centre to stop pollution?”

UP government replied that it will give information about it on Thursday.
“Center will also have to answer,” CJI Ramana added.

The CJI said that not only this, the Centre is responsible for most of the areas of Delhi, and has asked the centre to enumerate the steps it is taking to curb the air pollution.

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During the proceedings, the states being Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab said that they are giving money to the laborers because of the work being stopped in the matter of giving money to the laborers by the court apart from the present Delhi air pollution matter.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, said that after the order of the court, the Delhi government has given five thousand rupees to every laborer. And a total of Rs 1.47 crore has been released so far.

The matter is now listed on December 2 for next hearing.

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