Stop construction in Delhi, sprinkle water in high-pollution zone, orders NGT

RSTV Bureau
Students using handkerchiefs  to cover their face as smog covers the capital's skyline on Wednesday. Yesterday the air quality hit severe levels in New Delhi.

Students using handkerchiefs to cover their face as smog covers the capital’s skyline on Wednesday. Yesterday the air quality hit severe levels in New Delhi.

The National Green Tribunal came down heavily on Kejriwal government and other civic agencies of Delhi over the issue of dangerous rise in air pollution levels of Delhi. In a string of strict measures, the NGT ordered banning construction and industrial activities, and entry of trucks in the national capital.

In a significant development, the NGT also directed the authorities and the civic bodies to sprinkle water where PM 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre.

“No construction activity will be carried out on structures until further orders… all industrial activities in Delhi-NCR which are causing emission will also not be allowed to carry on their functioning till November 14,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The bench also imposed a ban on the entry of diesel trucks more than ten years old and said that no vehicle from outside or within Delhi will be permitted to transport any construction material.

Pulling up the Delhi government and civic bodies over the worsening air quality in Delhi and neighbouring states, it asked if they wish to be mere “spectators” in the current situation.

Holding meetings, writing letters and shifting responsibility from one to the other for non-performance can hardly be made an excuse for meeting such a bad environmental emergency, it said.

“You (officials) go to the hospital and see what kind of trouble people are facing. You kept playing with people’s life. Right to life has been infringed with impunity by the authorities and other stakeholders who have been mere spectators to such crisis,” the bench said.

It further directed the authorities to implement EPCA’s directions to improve ambient air quality while asking the civic bodies to constitute teams to ensure there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR.

The NGT had yesterday lashed out at the city government and the CPCB for not issuing orders to shut down construction and industrial activities in the capital despite the worsening air quality.

It had also ordered Punjab, UP and Haryana governments to spell out the steps have they taken to prevent crop burning in the states adjacent to the national capital.

(With inputs from PTI)