The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal while upholding an order passed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, banning Diesel Generators – other than exclusive/emergency services – in Delhi and its vicinity towns of Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon, Sonipat, Panipat, Bahadurgarh, observed, “Citizens are entitled to breathe in fresh air.”
The bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the aforesaid ruling in Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam v. Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority & Ors. while hearing an Interlocutory Application in an appeal.
The Applicants in the plea contended that “that while it is under obligation to distribute electricity, there are limitations in distributing electricity in the entire area due to technical non-feasibility.”
The EPCA order to ban DG sets was passed under the advisory role of the Task Force on Graded Response Action Plan, which is chaired by the member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board that the coming period, beginning 12th October, 2019 is projected to have adverse weather conditions, which will exacerbate the potential for pollution. “The region is already in the ‘Moderate/poor’ category in terms of air quality and, therefore, all efforts have to be made to ensure that the levels do not rise further, even with adverse weather conditions,” said the EPCA order.
In order to avoid the requirement of DG sets, the State Electricity Boards of the concerned areas were asked to ensure special efforts be made for 24×7 electricity supply.
The bench viewed “Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been duly notified under the provisions of the Environment (Protection ) Act, 1986 and is binding and that the impugned order is merely enforcing the GRAP,” thus contending that there is no illegality therein. It further said, “Impugned action is an undoubted need for protection of environment and public health.”
— India Legal Bureau