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Posted at: Nov 15, 2019, 3:48 PM; last updated: Nov 15, 2019, 8:23 PM (IST)

Air pollution: SC summons chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana again

Air pollution: SC summons chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana again
Commuters drive along a motorway under heavy smog conditions in New Delhi. AFP photo

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 15

The Supreme Court on Friday directed Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to personally appear before it on November 25 as it was not satisfy by the steps taken to check deteriorating pollution level in NCR.

This is the second time that the top court summoned them on the issue of deteriorating pollution level in NCR due to stubble and garbage burning, construction and demolition activities.

A Bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta—which had summoned them on November 6—said there was no improvement in the pollution level.

It said air pollution had not reduced by the introduction of odd-even road-rationing scheme in the national capital.

“Odd-even is not a long-term solution to the problem. Public transport services should be made better. But there hasn’t been much work towards it,” the Bench said, adding “it affects only the middle and lower classes. Affluent classes have many cars.”

“In cities where odd-even worked, there were no exceptions,” the Bench—which is also hearing a PIL against the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme—said.

It wanted to see satellite images of areas where stubble burning was taking place. “Show us images from yesterday and today. Has there been compliance with our previous order?” it said.

The Bench directed DPCC to enforce the ban on trucks and three-wheelers running illegally on polluting fuel.

“In case it’s found that polluting fuel is used, not only the owner but officials will also be liable,” it said, seeking a report in seven days.

It asked DDA, PWD and other civic bodies to co-operate with the top Court’s Monitoring Committee to ensure implementation of its orders.

On November 6, it had ordered governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to give Rs 100 per quintal for non-Basmati paddy as an incentive within a week to farmers who have not burnt stubble.

Pulling up chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the failure of the three states in stopping stubble burning—orders the three states to bear the operational cost of hiring of machines for the handling of agricultural residue on behalf of marginal and small farmers with land holding of 2.5 acre and 5 acre respectively.

 The Bench—which is seized of a PIL on air pollution – had directed Delhi Government and municipal corporations of Delhi to sit together and prepare an effective plan to deal with pollution caused by sources other than stubble-burning, including construction and demolition, dust and garbage waste.

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