Union Environment Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha said on Friday that Delhi and its adjoining States had been “weak” in enforcing guidelines to curb air pollution.
But the Centre stopped short of issuing any fresh directive to the States to address Delhi’s noxious air, and instead asked them to tighten enforcement of the guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) last December. After a meeting with top officials of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, the Ministry urged the States to implement a host of measures, including checking the spread of flyash from Delhi’s Badarpur plant and the shutting down of old brick kilns. Mr. Jha said crop burning had been brought under control in almost all States, except Punjab where it continued on a large scale. State officials said they would take efforts to check it.
“We could also think of financial incentives from the environment cess that we have collected so far to discourage farmers from burning crop residue,” Mr. Jha added. “Last December, the CPCB had issued a 42-point guideline to the States to tackle air pollution. There are many areas where much more needs to be done,” he said.
‘Make enforcement stricter’
Union Environment Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha on Friday called for special attention to the enforcement of orders issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
“Last December, the CPCB had issued a 42-point guideline to the States to tackle air pollution. There were short-, medium- and long-term measures. There are areas where much more needs to be done,” he told reporters after meeting top officials of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. “Because the enforcement mechanism is still weak, the States have been asked to make enforcement stricter and take steps that need to be taken,” he said.
Delhi is currently in the midst of one of the worst bouts of pollution
Don’t pass the buck: NGT
“The air pollution that the city [New Delhi] is facing is unfair to its people. What future are we giving to our children,” asked the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday while castigating the Centre and the AAP government in Delhi for “shifting blame” and not taking steps to tackle the alarming air pollution level, which has been dubbed the worst in 17 years.
A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Swatanter Kumar said: “Just look at what we are giving to our children for future. This is terrible.”
The Bench issued notices to the secretaries of Environment and Urban Development of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and directed them to be present before it on the next date of hearing on November 8,.