Delhi smog: AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj reacts to HC order, says Centre refuses to allot parking space for buses

Aam Aadmi Party leader Saurabh Bharadwaj on Wednesday sought to pass the buck to the Centre saying that the Delhi government has no problem in spending money to procure buses to control the unabated pollution in the national capital but indicated the Central government is not giving the state enough support.

AAP's statement comes a day after the Delhi High Court termed the need for more buses in the city a "grave urgency" and said the AAP government needed to address it on a "war-footing". The court noted that despite the passage of 19 years since a Supreme Court order, the government of Delhi has not yet achieved the target set by the top court.

The AAP MLA from Greater Kailash constituency said that there is a huge gap between the framing of policies at the state level and Centre's approval on it. It's not enough to have money, we need to assess how we can spend that money optimally for the public, Bharadwaj said at a press meet. He added that 50 acres of land given by the Centre for parking of buses was taken back.

Sources in the state government also said that Delhi residents should write to the Lieutenant Governor and not the AAP as they are delaying the paperwork.

With regards to the Delhi air pollution problem, the AAP leader said, "We can buy buses but there are no parking spaces available. Centre will not allot space for the government. We cannot accept that the Centre will not give us land in the long run. The Centre has been delaying our projects and they keep sitting on our proposals seeking parking spaces for the buses."

File image of AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

File image of AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj. Firstpost/Debobrat Ghose

On Tuesday, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar of the Delhi High Court made the observation while declining to stop the Delhi government from procuring 2,000 more standard floor buses for the people of the national capital.

The bench reminded the Delhi government of the Supreme Court's 27 July, 1998 direction to augment the fleet of buses from 5,000 to 10,000.

Earlier on Wednesday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal urged states and Centre to work together to tackle the issue of smog in the National Capital Region."We may belong to different territories but we have no control over the air," Kejriwal said, adding that top political executive needs to work together to tackle the problem.

Kejriwal said that his meeting with Khattar indicated that collective leadership is needed to tackle the issue of air pollution.

Amid all the discussions over ways to tackle the smog, PTI reported that authorities in Delhi have over Rs 1,500 crore, collected as green fund to combat air pollution, lying largely unused, even as the national capital struggles to ward off a toxic haze.

The lion's share of the amount — Rs 1,003 crore (till 10 November) — comes from an Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) imposed by the Supreme Court in 2015 on trucks entering Delhi while the rest is made up of cess on every litre of diesel sold, in effect since 2008.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has amassed Rs 62 crore as one per cent cess from dealers selling diesel cars with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above in the Delhi-NCR region following a directive of the Supreme Court in August last year.

With inputs from PTI


Published Date: Nov 15, 2017 04:45 pm | Updated Date: Nov 15, 2017 05:02 pm


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