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Seize 10-yr-old diesel taxis as they cause air pollution: NGT to Govt

Green Tribunal to consider lifting ban on construction today.

Seize 10-yr-old diesel taxis as they cause air pollution: NGT to  Govt
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NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday directed the Delhi government to submit data of ambient air quality in the national capital and said it would consider its ban on construction and industrial activity in the National Capital Region (NCR) on that basis.
In the hour-long hearing, the NGT has voiced concern over 10-year-old diesel taxis operating in the national capital and directed the AAP government to seize them without any delay as they cause air pollution. "It is pointed out that a large number of diesel taxis are being permitted to ply in the NCT of Delhi contrary to the judgement and directions of the Supreme Court," the NGT observed.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar observed all these points at the hearing in presence representatives of the AAP government. During the brief hearing, the government told the bench that water was sprinkled at ITO area according to its direction and PM 2.5 levels had come down as detected by the monitoring centre of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. Some of the lawyers, appearing for builders and industries, requested the tribunal to lift its ban on the ground that air quality in the NCR had improved.
The bench refused to pass any order regarding the construction ban, saying there was no urgency and no builder would be starting construction activity on Thursday night.
"We will pass the order on Friday after going through the data," it said. On November 14, the NGT had expressed concern over the high pollution level, terming it as an "environmental and health emergency". The city should "not gift infected lungs to its children", it had observed.
It had also refused to exempt women and two-wheelers from the Delhi government's odd-even vehicle rationing scheme and directed it to ensure that over 10-year-old diesel vehicles be taken off the roads without delay.
It had also asked the city government to identify the most polluted areas and sprinkle water while allowing the non-polluting industries and those manufacturing essential goods to operate in Delhi-NCR. The NGT had on November 11 stated that it would not exempt women and two-wheelers from the odd-even vehicle rationing plan to tackle pollution.
Meanwhile, NGT also directed all Delhi government and private schools as well as colleges to install rainwater harvesting systems in their premises within two months at their own cost. It ordered that any institution that fails to install the rainwater harvesting system within the stipulated period shall be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs 5 lakh.

Govt urges EPCA to implement GRAP in other NCR towns
NEW DELHI: Amid the blames and counter blames on pollution, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has requested a Supreme Court-appointed environment body EPCA to implement the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR towns along with Delhi to control air pollution. The Delhi government has also urged the same regarding odd-even to the National Green Tribunal.
In a letter sent to the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Wednesday, Gahlot said: "In the public interest, it is requested that EPCA would do well to advise NCR towns to implement GRAP including Odd-Even scheme along with Delhi."
The Minister said that according to rules, GRAP had to be implemented not only in Delhi but in NCR towns as well. "It needs to be appreciated that unless GRAP is implemented across all NCR towns, pollution level in Delhi, as well as neighbouring towns, cannot be brought down. Mere implementation of measures within Delhi would not be of many effects unless similar measures are adopted in the remaining NCR towns as well," the letter read. Criticising the environment body, the Minister said: "EPCA has not helped in the matter by keeping quiet with regard to the obligations of NCR towns in this regard." The National Capital Region (NCR) includes the whole of Delhi and many districts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
In response to the letter, the EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said that they were working according to the directions of the Supreme Court and the agency was much aware of what is need to be done.
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