Millennium Post

Delhi chokes: Enforce rules, Centre tells states

Faced with a gas chamber- like situation in the national capital region (NCR), the Environment Ministry has asked states for strict implementation of existing measures to improve the situation.

The directive comes on the day, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the states and the Centre for not doing enough to save the NCR from dangerous levels of pollution. In an important move, the NGT has in a direction to Delhi Government said, “All diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old should be off the road.”

Admitting that the enforcement of rules for tackling air pollution was ‘weak’, the Environment Ministry on Friday asked states to ‘strictly’ implement a host of measures, including checking the spread of fly ash from Delhi’s Badarpur plant and shutting down of old brick kilns.

The directive came as faced with ‘severe’ air pollution problem in Delhi, Union Environment Secretary A N Jha on Friday held a review meeting with secretaries of NCR states.

Jha said crop burning had been controlled in almost all states except Punjab where large-scale burning has been reported and during the meeting, Punjab had assured that it would make efforts to check it. 

However, NGT on Friday said that crop burning could not be blamed much as there was no wind to bring smoke from states to the NCR.

“Last year in December Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had instructed states on 42 points (to tackle air pollution). There were short, medium and long-term measures. After issuing these orders, five or six meetings have already been held at the ministerial as well as CPCB level. Many steps have been taken,” said the Environment Secretary.

“There are many areas where much more needs to be done. Special focus needs to be given on enforcement of these orders. Because enforcement mechanism is still weak, states have been asked to make enforcement stricter and take whatever steps, which needs to be taken,” Jha told waiting media persons.

Jha said various issues related to air pollution, including crop burning, dust pollution, pollution from landfill sites, building construction, vehicular pollution, industrial pollution were discussed during the meeting.

“Delhi government has been asked to regulate and check the fly ash which is coming out of the Badarpur plant. We will also issue orders to NTPC so that while transportation whatever fly ash is going into the atmosphere, it stops,” said Jha.

“Delhi government has also assured us that it will immediately come out with a plan of action to utilise the money available with it” Jha said.
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