The Supreme Court on Thursday sought a response from the Union power ministry and NTPC Ltd on the Delhi government’s plea seeking closure of the largest power producer’s coal-based Badarpur power plant, to curb pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).
The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also asked the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to look into the Delhi government plea.
Taking serious note of rising pollution levels in the NCR, it also directed EPCA to conduct surprise checks at construction sites to ensure that the builders are not violating environment norms.
Solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar also informed the court that BS-VI emission standards will be implemented in the country by April 2020 at a cost of R28,750 crore to the exchequer. Harish Salve, amicus curie in the case, said it is possible to advance the deadline as such investment is just “peanuts” for the government. Kumar said there are enormous logistical constraints in implementing BS-VI before 2020 and it was not feasible to advance the timeline further.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) also said that the companies are ready to provided the government gives “clean fuel”.
The Delhi government informed the court that on its part it is phasing out government’s “old diesel vehicles”. This came after a discussion in court on how long should governments use their own diesel vehicles.
The Centre said the current practice is to use them for eight years or till it runs for 1,50,000 km, whichever is earlier. The court had earlier asked the Centre to consider phasing out diesel cars more than 10 years old.