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Posted at: Nov 20, 2019, 6:51 AM; last updated: Nov 20, 2019, 6:51 AM (IST)

LS Speaker pulls up officials, pollution panel meets today

LS Speaker pulls up officials, pollution panel meets today
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla

New Delhi, November 19

Taking a dim view of the absence of key officials from a parliamentary committee meeting on pollution in the national capital, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has pulled them up and asked them to ensure that it is not repeated, official sources said on Tuesday.

The absence of most of its members and senior officials from the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development's meeting on November 15 on the issue of pollution in Delhi had sparked outrage and raised questions over their seriousness in fighting the menace.

Its next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday. Sources said Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had summoned and chided some of the key truant officials. The panel's head and BJP MP Jagdambika Pal had written to the Speaker over the matter, expressing his “displeasure” at the absence of senior government officials, as they were scheduled to brief parliamentarians on the pollution crisis, especially in the national capital.

An official message communicated to panel members stated that representatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board will brief them on Wednesday on the role of MCD, DDA, NDMC, CPWD and NBCC — all central agencies — in “reducing air pollution in Delhi”.

The strong reaction to their absence, including the lone BJP MP from the national capital in the panel — Gautam Gambhir — is likely to result in the presence of most parliamentarians and officials in the meeting on Wednesday.

Only four MPs of a 28-member parliamentary panel attended a key meeting to discuss the air pollution crisis in Delhi-NCR on November 15. Besides Pal, the three other MPs who attended the meeting were the BJP's C R Patil, AAP's Sanjay Singh and Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference. The absence of the lawmakers and officials sparked outrage and raised questions over their seriousness in fighting the menace. — PTI


Birla Looks into last meeting fiasco 

Sources in Parliament said Speaker Om Birla summoned the commissioners of the north, east and south Delhi MCs and other officials to hear first hand their reasons for not attending the November 15 meet on pollution. As many as 25 of the 29 MPs on the pollution panel did not attend the meeting.

‘Let’s give message that we’re sensitive’ 

"A statutory committee of Parliament should be created to look into issues related to climate change… it is important that today this House gives a message that it is sensitive and serious about this issue... "— Manish Tewari, congress leader 

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