IIT-B back on board to install smog tower in Delhi, Centre tells SC

A stretch of road near the Anand Vihar area in Delhi.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The government on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay is back on board on the court-ordered project to install a smog tower in Delhi to fight air pollution, but the project itself may take 10 months to complete.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the ‘drawings’ of the project would take two months.

‘Laxity’ in complying with order

The court expressed dissatisfaction with the time-frame given, blaming the government for showing ‘laxity’ in complying with its order on January 13 to complete the project in three months.

When Mr. Mehta submitted that it was the IIT-B which had backed out of the project, Justice Mishra retorted: “You [government] had to make the effort. Our direction was to your Ministry. This is a government project. It was the government to do it... A detailed order has been violated and you seem to have no intention to comply with it.

“We will not tolerate laxity,” Justice Mishra said.

Mr. Mehta offered to file an affidavit with an undertaking to complete the project. Amicus curiae Aparajita Singh suggested the court ask the government to come up with a “firm time-frame”. The court listed the case next on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, an indignant Supreme Court had threatened contempt action against the premier institution after learning that it had opted to pull out of the project.

A week ago, it had given the Centre seven days to enter into an MoU with the institution to install the tower.

Stern view against Centre

The Bench had taken a stern view against the Centre when it realised that its order of January 13 to install the experimental tower at the busy Anand Vihar intersection here has not been complied with even after seven months.

The government had in an affidavit blamed the IIT-B for not agreeing to “take the lead and responsibility” for the overall coordination of the ₹18.52-crore project.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 10:08:13 PM |

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