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Supreme Court pulls up Centre, state governments over failure to improve air quality

File photo: Supreme Court Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 06, 2019, 06.57 PM (IST)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Centre and government of northern states in India over their approach towards curbing pollution. 

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra came down heavily on the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi on the matters related to stubble burning, construction activities, road dust among factors that contribute towards air pollution. 

"You cannot deal with road dust, construction & demolition or garbage dumping. Why are you holding the post?" Justice Mishra told Delhi Chief Secretary Ajay Kumar Dev, reports ANI. 

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This is the second time in two days the top court has questioned Delhi's approach towards improving Delhi's toxic air.

"Cars create less pollution. What are you [Delhi] getting from this odd-even? What is the logic behind the odd-even scheme? Banning diesel vehicles we can understand, but what is the point of odd-even scheme," the SC told the Delhi government on Monday.

The governments of Punjab and Haryana were also not sparred on the issue of stubble burning.

"We want immediate action to deal with stubble burning. It seems that there is no coordination among the officers and the state government to deal with this situation," Justice Mishra said to Punjab government, reports ANI. Justice Mishra told Punjab and neighbouring Haryana governments that they have "miserably" failed in performing its duty. 

In order to prevent farmers from burning stubble, the SC ordered an incentive of Rs 100 per quintal to small and marginal farmers of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for handling residue of non-Basmati rice crops. 

The Supreme Court also questioned the implementation of the funds coming from World Bank in order to improve infrastructure. "So much of funds have come, where is the concept of a smart city? Why have the roads not improved," Justice Mishra asked. 

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Earlier today, Delhi's air quality improved slightly from "very poor" to "poor" category. Schools also reopened in the national capital on Wednesday.

Due to the arrival of winter combined with other factors such as stubble burning, bursting of crackers, etc, the national capital and its adjoining areas have been covered in a thick blanket of smog from the past few weeks.

As per a report by WHO, 14 Indian cities feature in world's 15 most polluted cities. Nearly 10 lakh people die each year in India due to pollution. 

 

Story highlights

'You cannot deal with road dust, construction & demolition or garbage dumping. Why are you holding the post?' Justice Mishra told Delhi Chief Secretary Ajay Kumar Dev.