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President signs ordinance to tackle air pollution, improve air quality in Delhi (NCR) region

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New Delhi (ILNS): President, Ram Nath Kovind, has given his assent to an ordinance to tackle air pollution and to monitor and improve air quality in Delhi (NCR) region.

The executive order passed in this regard provides for setting up of a permanent commission for air quality management in Delhi-NCR for coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems concerning air quality.

The order said, “Due to the absence of an inter-sectorial, public participative, multi-state dynamic body, the Honorable Supreme Court has been monitoring, supervising and guiding the problem of air pollution in the National Capital Region through the continuing mandamus in the case of M.C Mehta Vs Union of India and others. The top court therefore had to devote its precious time in constituting various ad-hoc or permanent committees at various stages to oversee the problem of air pollution in NCR region.

In order to provide a permanent solution, and establish a self regulated democtratically monitored mechanism to curb air pollution, it is deemed fit to set up a Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital region and adjoining areas.”

This commission would replace the existing committees in order to streamline public participation, the inter-state cooperation, expert involvement and persistent research and innovation. The ordinance also seeks to provide a broad based Central commission under which at least three separate sub-committee can function in order to synergise the collaborative efforts to alleviate the recurring problems associated with air pollution in the NCR.

The eighteen-member commission called the “Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas” will be headed by a Chairperson appointed by the central government. It shall be empowered to issue directions to control air pollution and take cognizance of complaints. The commission will also have the authority to slap fines and will be responsible for laying down parameters to curb emissions and keep air quality under control. The commission will specifically monitor the measures taken by states to prevent factors causing air pollution like stubble burning, industrial emissions, road dust, vehicular pollution and other major sources.

As per the ordinance the central government by a notification in the official gazette shall constitute a body to be known as “Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.

The ordinance came days after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta stated before the Supreme Court in the stubble burning matter that the government is considering passing an ordinance on Air Quality Management in the NCR and adjoining areas.

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The Commission will be headed by a Chairperson who had served as a Secretary of Government of India or Chief Secretary to the State Government, and will include a representative of the secretary to the central the government in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and five members from the department dealing with environmental protection in the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

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