HC slams Delhi govt on pollution; to hear case every 2 weeks
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday came down heavily on the Delhi government and other concerned authorities over the deteriorating Air Quality Index (AQI) and increasing air pollution in the national capital, saying “there is complete lack of will to implement” ideas to tackle the problem.
A division bench of Justices G.S. Sistani and Anup Jairam Bambani remarked that if its previous orders had been followed, pollution in Delhi would not be where it is today.
The court said the matter would now be heard every two weeks in order to ensure that steps are taken to curb the menace of pollution in the city.
The matter would be heard next on December 2. The court was hearing a suo moto petition over air pollution in Delhi.
“The problem lies in implementation and not lack of ideas. There is complete lack of will to implement the same,” it said.
The court stated that all the stakeholders, including citizens, have to take a proactive role “in case we have to make Delhi pollution free”.
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The petition was heard for the first time in early 2015. Since then, the court has been passing several orders to contain air pollution in the city.
Referring to a CAG report for the time period of 2014-2017, senior advocate Kailash Vasudev, who is amicus curiae in the case, informed the court that the Forest Department has failed to meet its afforestation targets.
The court directed the Chief Conservator of Forests, Delhi government to appear before it on the next date of hearing and apprise the court of the extent of plantation carried out.
The Forest Department is also expected to spell out its plan to increase forest cover and reduce encroachment in Delhi.
To further address concerns of rising pollution level due to dust, the court suggested that from October to January, no fresh demolition of infrastructure should be permitted.
To tackle concerns of streamlining traffic, the court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Corporation and other Municipal Corporations in the city as well the other authorities concerned to take necessary steps to deal with encroachment on the roads.
This exercise has to be done in a routine and regular manner and not on days before the court hearing, it said.
It also directed that senior officers should not only issue circulars for implementation of the orders but also undertake inspection to ensure the same.