The National Green Tribunal today took state governments to task for not taking a clear stand on pollution and vehicle density in major cities in their jurisdiction and directed them to produce the information by tomorrow failing which bailable warrants will be issued against chief secretaries.
The green panel directed Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal to apprise it about cities which have worst ambient air quality, total number of vehicles along with their bifurcation (diesel/petrol) and the total population in each city.
The tribunal also rapped Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for submitting “half-baked” data on the population and vehicle density in major cities across the country. The CPCB report has indicated that ambient air quality in most of the cities was beyond permissible standards.
“What kind of report is this? You (CPCB) have given us a half-baked data. We had asked you about vehicle density. How many vehicles are diesel and petrol? According to your report, Mumbai has a population of 11 lakhs. This is the joke of the first category.
“Your report says Delhi has 245 vehicles per km. There are thousands of vehicles per km in the capital, what kind of report is this. Today, you can even see a Fiat car of 1960 on the road. People in Delhi still have their Maruti 800 driving around,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said while hearing a case related to air pollution.
The tribunal also directed Delhi RTO to appear before it and inform it about the total number of vehicles in the national capital along with their break-up.
At the outset, the NGT inquired the counsels appearing for Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh about the most polluted city in their states.
“Which city has maximum cars? Tell us the worst city in your state in terms of ambient air quality” the bench asked.
When the counsels failed to give a clear reply and sought time to seek instructions the bench got infuriated.
“Everyday you (states) say we want to seek instructions. We want clear stand on ambient air quality, human population and vehicle density.
“If the states fail to produce the data by tomorrow, we will issue bailable warrants against the chief secretaries of all states. You have made a joke of our orders. Be prepared to face consequences now,” the bench warned.