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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday (November 9) took extreme steps to try and bring under control what has been called a “public health emergency” in Delhi. Going by its stringent norms, the bench not only banned all construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR, it also forbade any diesel vehicle over 10 years old and any petrol vehicle over 15 years old from entering the area. Only vehicles carrying essential goods will be allowed entry.

Only essential items will be allowed in.

The bench gave this direction in the backdrop of the life threatening air pollution levels – as per the Central Pollution Control Board it is severe, which can fell even a healthy person in the National Capital Region – in Delhi. The Indian Medical Association had on Tuesday (November 7) declared the condition as a “public health emergency”.

The NGT ban will stay in force till the next hearing when it will again be evaluated. The next hearing is on Monday (November 13).

The NGT ordered a slew of measures to be implemented. It ordered all public authorities to depute officers to monitor the polluting activities. It also ordered the government on the bar on vehicle entry

The NGT also pulled up the Delhi government, MCD and neighbouring states for not tackling the issue better and said that they were playing with the lives of the people. The green regulator also enquired about the steps the Delhi government had taken to control pollution and the number of challans it issued to lawbreakers.

The NGT also asked why water is not been sprinkled in the atmosphere using helicopters.

“Articles 21 & 48 of the Constitution mandate that it is the responsibility of governments to make sure that citizens get a clean and conducive environment. Right to life is being snatched from people since they’re not getting a clean environment,” ANI quoted the Tribunal as saying.

—India Legal Bureau

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