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Delhi air pollution: Supreme Court reserves order, Centre, Haryana place their anti-pollution plans before court

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the rising air pollution in Delhi. The Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana continued hearing the plea of Delhi student Aditya Dubey over the air pollution in the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

With the Court reserving orders and the next hearing on November 24, the Centre spelled out what it has done along with guidelines for Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana governments under several heads.

Centre’s guidelines to curb air pollution in Delhi NCR

1. Industrial Pollution

NCR States and GNCTD (Delhi) shall ensure:

All Industries in NCR with gas connectivity shall run only on  gas as a fuel failing which Industries concerned shall be closed.

This Commission for Air Quality Management has already repeatedly directed not to permit any industry to use unapproved fuels. All industries in NCR still using unapproved fuels shall be closed by respective Governments with immediate effect.

All Industries in NCR where gas connectivity is available shall immediately be shifted to gas and State Governments to fuels industry-wise date of shifting.

NCR State Governments and GNCTD shall further set up effective enforcement mechanism including intensive and continuous drives by deputing adequate number of teams consisting of senior officers to monitor compliance of air pollution emission control norms by Industrial Units and for suitable penal action and / or closure.

2. Thermal Power Plants

Of the 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km  radius  of Delhi, only 5 power plants namely NTPC, Jhajjar; Mahatma Gandhi TPS, CLP Jhajjar; Panipat TPS, HPGCL; Nabha Power Ltd. TPS, Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo TPS, Mansa shall only be allowed to schedule their operations and the rest  shall  remain  inoperative  at least till November 30, 2021.

The Secretary, Ministry of Power informed that load requirements, if any, arising out of such closures shall be duly facilitated through power supply from other power plants located beyond 300 km radius of Delhi.

3.Vehicular Pollution / Transport NCR States and GNCTD shall:

Stop entry of trucks in Delhi except the trucks carrying essential commodities, till November 21, 202 1 subject to further review for extension of this date.

Plying of diesel and petrol vehicles of more than 10 and 16 years respectively in NCR is a serious matter and the authorities shall ensure that no vehicles of more than 10 years and 15 years using diesel and petrol respectively are found plying on road.

Stop plying of visibly polluting vehicles and vehicles without PUC inNCR. Checks for PUC may be primarily carried out at the petrol pumps so as to obviate congestion on free roads.

Deploy traffic task-force teams to closely monitor all busy traffic intersections, busy market areas, unauthorized parking lots etc. and take every possible step towards ensuring smooth flow of traffic arid avoiding congestion.

GNCTD to expeditiously procure and put on road adequate number of CNG buses at the earliest.

4. Dust Control Measures

NCR States and GNCTD shall ensure:

To stop construction and demolition activities in NCR till November 21, 2021 except for the following categories of projects:

Railway services / Railway stations

Metro Rail corporation services, including stations

Airports and Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs)

National security/defence related activities/projects of National importance;

Subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules and dust control norms including compliance with the directions of the Commission

Deploy Anti-smog guns, water sprinklers (including supplementing such efforts through large scale deployment of fire tenders etc.) and application of dust suppressants to be carried out in all vulnerable hotspots, at least 3 times in a day.

Augment availability of road sweeping machines and water sprinklers in NCR through emergent procurement measures

Set up effective enforcement mechanism including intensive drives by deputing adequate number of teams consisting of senior officers to monitor compliance of air pollution emission control norms by the C&D projects and heavy penal action and/or closure directions be issued with immediate effect.

Also Read: Supreme Court dismisses petitions against appointment of Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta

Impose heavy penalty on persons/ organizations responsible for stacking construction materials or C&D waste on roads and right of ways in NCR.

5. DG Sets

NCR States and GNCTD shall enforce a strict ban on use of DG sets, except for emergency services, which are stipulated in the orders of the Sub-Committee on invocation of GRAP from time to time. Uninterrupted power supply to facilitate the effectiveness of this measure shall to be ensured by the respective electricity supply agencies in Delhi-NCR.

6. Encouraging Work from Home (WFH) to further ease vehicular pollution

NCR State Governments shall allow Work from Home (WFH) for at least 50% of their staff in offices in NCR, till November 21, 2021 subject to further review.

NCR State Governments shall encourage at least 50% of staff working in private establishments in NCR are also allowed to work from home till November 21, 2021 subject to further review.

7. All public and private Schools, Colleges and Educational Institutions in NCR shall remain closed until further orders allowing only online mode of education.

8. These directions shall be closely monitored by the Chief Secretaries of NCR States / GNCTD on a regular basis for effective field level implementation and control of air pollution and compliance report shall be filed before this Commission on November 22, 2021.

The State of Haryana also placed guidelines issued by it before the Apex Court

That in compliance of the directions of honorable Supreme Court dated November 15, 2021 an emergency meeting was held by the additional chief secretary come financial commissioner, department of Haryana with administrative secretaries of departments of power, environment and climate change, agriculture, transport, urban local bodies, industries, offices of HSPCB and deputy commissioners of Gurugram, Faridabad, Jhajjar and Sonipat to discuss and firm up the measures to curb air pollution in city Delhi. In this meeting the following important decisions were taken in order to contain air-pollution in NCT Delhi

Agriculture and farmers welfare department was required to issue an advertisement in all prominent print and electronic media, requesting the farmers of the state not to burn crop residue in the state at least for next 15 days

The industries except the ones which have been converted into BNG/CNG/cleaner fuel, were directed to be closed up to 30 November 2021

The deputy commissioners of Gurugram, Faridabad, Jhajjar and Sonipat were directed to implement the work from home measures in government and private sectors by issuing suitable advisory

Also Read: Tripura UAPA charges against advocates, journalist: Supreme Court tells Tripura not to take any coercive steps against them

Further it was decided that there shall be special drives in all NCR district for those heavy vehicles which are carrying stone/construction and demolition material, without appropriate cover as per the requirement. Such vehicles shall be challaned and allowed to be moved till compliance is made

There will be special drive for implementing the 10/15 year old diesel/petrol vehicles in NCR district of Haryana to ensure that no violence is done

Urban local bodies department (ULBD) was directed to constitute teams along with the district administration to check the solid waste burning and violations in construction sites, including non-covering of construction material/areas and non-sprinkling of water through anti-smoke guns.

ULBD shall also use maximum number of machines for sweeping and will intensity the sprinkling activities through tankers and anti-smog guns.

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