Millennium Post

Air pollution: NGT proposes panel of Chief Secys of states

The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday said it was mulling setting up a committee of Chief Secretaries of Delhi and four northern states to prepare an emergency action plan to combat the menace of air pollution.

“We propose a committee comprising Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh who shall meet once in two months and prepare an action plan for implementation of directions on air pollution,” a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The green panel asked the state governments to classify different levels of pollution while asking the Chief Secretaries to take disciplinary action against officials who were not executing the orders on air pollution.

“Have any of the states ever thought of how to deal with the pollution? What kind of pollution do you anticipate? We are asking you whether any of your wise officers have ever sat together to classify different levels of pollution? It may be poor, bad, hazardous or emergency. These are different levels of pollution. Have any of them applied their mind on this? 

“It is very shocking the way people of Delhi have been treated for the last seven days. You are not able to persuade people not to burn crackers in Diwali. People were bursting crackers even on Chhath. You must credit the people of Delhi that they are so tolerant,” the Bench said.

The Bench said the committee could meet in places like Delhi, Lucknow or Chandigarh and any decision taken in these meetings will apply to all the five states.

The NGT further proposed a sub-committee comprising secretaries of Environment, Urban development, Central Pollution Control Board, state pollution board which would report to the main committee and submit report on implementation of the decisions taken by the panel.

The Bench, however, said it would pass its order on pollution matters tomorrow which would have huge inter-state implications.

It lambasted the states for not devising an effective action plan and implementing it on the ground level.

“First grievance is that NGT calls them to be present here. We will continue to do our duty and pass orders even if bureaucrats feel offended. Let this be clear to them. These days, we are getting representations from MLAs, MPs that this violation is going on and the government is not taking any action. In such a scenario, how can we not do anything,” the Bench said.
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