A plea alleging that illegal operation of brick kilns has resulted in severe air and water pollution in Delhi-NCR has prompted the National Green Tribunal to order their inspection and seek report on their compliance. A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan governments and sought their replies in three weeks. “In the meanwhile, we direct the state pollution control board of each of the States of UP, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan to examine the allegations contained in original application and inspect all brick fields within the districts referred and examine as to whether these are compliant or not.
“In the event of them being non-compliant, the state pollution control boards shall initiate appropriate action against them in accordance with law. Report of compliance shall be filed on the next date,” the bench said. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Delhi resident Shailesh Singh seeking action against brick kilns which are operating without complying to pollution norms and causing immense air and water pollution. The plea also claimed that these brick kilns were running without obtaining necessary clearances from statutory authorities concerned.
The plea listed seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar, 13 districts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, and two districts (Alwar and Bharatpur) of Rajasthan, besides Delhi in the petition. Referring to a 2017 Central Pollution Control Board report, the plea claimed that out of 2,125 brick kilns in seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, 1,728 were operating illegally. Similarly, out of of 172 brick kilns in Alwar, 109 were running without permission, while in Bharatpur 13 of 110 lack necessary approvals.