The Supreme Court on Friday impelled the Centre to act urgently on “second generation reforms” and consider...
The Supreme Court on Friday impelled the Centre to act urgently on “second generation reforms” and consider charging extra cess on privately-owned diesel vehicles and higher parking charges, among various other measures, to curb pollution in Delhi.
The court urged the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to also consider advancing Euro IV and implement measures such as restricting use of private transport through additional charges, limiting use of diesel, augmenting public transport system and making commercial vehicles not destined for Delhi bypass the city.
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A three-judge green bench, presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu, directed Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to submit the MoEF’s response on an application moved by amicus curiae senior advocate Harish Salve.
“The request made by amicus curiae be considered and implemented. ASG is to take instruction from the office of Central government. He will persuade persons concerned to look into the suggestions and, if possible, implement them,” the bench said while fixing the matter for January 9.
Salve had told the court that pollution levels in Delhi had reached an alarming stage and was increasing unabated. He also stated that ever-growing particulate matter in the air has started causing severe respiratory diseases.
“Delhi has lost the gains made through the introduction of clean fuel — CNG — as current pollution levels are high and toxic. It is clear that the city needs to do urgent, drastic and long-term second-generation reforms to reduce this burden,” Salve said.
Salve also read out from a report prepared by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, which demonstrated the rise in pollution level in the national capital and also suggested measures to contain the menace.
An analysis of the air quality data, the report pointed out, revealed that there were at least 25 days of “severe pollution” between October 1 and November 26.
“Severe pollution days mean that the PM 2.5 level was over 250, which is four times higher than the prescribed standard. On certain days, the level was over eight times higher than the standard — which clearly means that not only was the level severe but it also touched emergency levels,” the report stated.
The report further said the Centre was required to advance the introduction of Euro IV (Bharat stage IV) across the country from its current schedule of 2017 and they must now answer regarding the schedule.
The bench noted that all these issues were of utmost importance and that the government should submit a detailed response, making its stand clear.