Delhi Air Pollution: The ordinance has empowered the Commission to oversee everything - from coordination between states, policy framing, execution and interventions, industry operations, monitoring, to finding out factors behind pollution, etc. The new commission also has the authority levy fines if required.
Air Pollution in Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to an ordinance paving the way for statutory authority to tackle the air pollution menace in Delhi and the surrounding national capital region. This statutory authority will act as an apex body that will supersede the existing central pollution body and Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab state pollution control boards. The statutory authority has been empowered to send directives to the aforementioned state governemnt regarding air pollution, as per the Indian Express report.
The “Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020” was brought in to replace “ad-hoc measures” and streamline the engagements from the state governments and experts. So far, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) was overseeing the air pollution matter. However, EPCA unlike the new Commission is not a statutory body. However, the Supreme Court lent a legitimate status to the EPCA. EPCA had the legal powers to issue directives, guidelines, slap fines to state governments. EPCA, however, did not have any representatives from states as it comprised of two permanent members. The new Commission will have state representatives.
The ordinance has amply made it clear that the new Commission remains the top authority in matters pertaining to air pollution. The ordinance categorically stated that no body, panel constituted through Parliament’s laws or by state governments can act or has the jurisdiction pertaining to matters mentioned in the ordinance itself. This means the ordinance has made the new Commission more powerful than any other panel when it comes to tackling Air Pollution.
The ordinance has empowered the Commission to oversee everything – from coordination between states, policy framing, execution and interventions, industry operations, monitoring, to finding out factors behind pollution, etc. The new commission also has the authority levy fines if required.
Delhi Environment Department has claimed the new Commission will make the relevance of state pollution control bodies null and void because these panels no longer possess the power to make autonomous decisions, as per the IE report.