Today, at the Supreme Court hearing on the state of Delhi’s polluted air, Justice Mishra demanded urgent compliance of its previous orders with respect to installation of air purifying towers. The Court asked the Centre and Delhi Govt to set aside their differences an present a workable solution within 10 days, without politicizing the issue.
The Chief Secretary of Punjab informed the court that the government has invested 19 crores, besides speaking to the farmers to not burn stubble.
The Court reprimanded the Chief Secretary as stubble burning was still happening and the damage done to Delhi air should be monetarily recovered from that State. Court also pointed out that the effects of stubble burning has worsened this year.
The Chief Secretary further informed the court that 21,000 machines have been distributed so far to incinerate stubble. A further 2,500 machines would be distributed within a week approximately. There is a need of an online portal for a more effective strategy. A comprehensive plan would be in place soon.
Justice Mishra said since stubble burning as such, hasn’t stopped, the Chief Secretary’s arguments would be needed at length while determining the compensation amount to be ordered against them. He also added that Punjab should be ready with arguments on why penalty should not be imposed on them.
The Court marked that Haryana is at a worse place right now, when compared to Punjab.
Justice Mishra said, “Constitutional tort is being committed on part of Haryana, punjab and UP. We will not tolerate it… Only blame game is going on.”
Chief Secretary of Delhi updated the court on garbage and water pollution situation on the court’s askance. Court was informed that Delhi Govt would handle the issue of garbage disposal mechanism by December 2020.
Speaking to SG Tushar Mehta, Justice Mishra pointed out that smoke towers are successful in other countries, hence results of testing in India is immaterial and authorities should implement the order of the court at a faster pace. “There is no question of failure. No governance problem should come and if it comes, I will not pardon it,” said Mishra, J. He also asked Mr. Mehta to look into other technologies in use outside India.
Further, the Chief Secy of Delhi informed the court that there are 13 hotspots and the government is already taking care of them.
The Chief Secy of UP humbly stated that the state has taken the order of the apex court very seriously, to which Justice Mishra asked, “What positive action have you taken? What about eastern UP you were saying. Have you checked the impact of it also?”
The CS informed the court that there were 25 hotspots. 926 FIRs have been registered and fines have been imposed. Justice Mishra dubbed them as negative actions and inquired again on the positive actions.
“1034 machines are already sanctioned and we have already have made a plan to work even at the block level also. Stubble burning takes place in 30 districts out of which 8 are in Delhi NCR,” said the Chief Secy.
The Court remarked, “On papers everything appears to be amazing and seems there is no pollution but the reality is different.”
Justice Mishra told the counsel for the farmers, “Crops are important, we understand that. But we cannot jeopardize the life of the people.”
— India Legal Bureau