NGT fines Delhi govt Rs 25 cr for failing to curb air pollution; officials, people polluting environment not spared

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore on the Delhi government for failing to curb the problem of pollution in the National Capital. According to reports, the money will be deducted from the salary of Delhi government officials and people polluting the environment. The tribunal also stated that if the Arvind Kejriwal-led government fails to pay the fine, a penalty of Rs 10 crore per month will be imposed on them.

Representational image of Delhi pollution. Reuters

Representational image of Delhi pollution. Reuters

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked the AAP government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 25 crore with the apex pollution monitoring body to ensure that there is no further lapse in this regard.

The move comes almost a week after the Supreme Court asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prosecute government officials for not acting on around 250 complaints received by it from citizens. In an affidavit filed in the court, which is seized of matters related to pollution in Delhi-NCR, the CPCB said that "of 749 complaints received on social media and e-mails till 22 November, 2018, about 500 complaints (67 per cent of the total) were attended to by 52 teams of CPCB while associating with clean air campaign during 1-10 November, 2018".

Delhi has been battling alarming levels of pollution for over a month due to regional factors like stubble burning and localised factors like pollution from vehicles, firecrackers, construction activities among others, following which a number of steps were taken by the CPCB.

The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority chairperson Bhure Lal had also lashed out at enforcement agencies, alleging that Delhi's civic and urban bodies are "not properly implementing" the directions issued to curb pollution. He said enforcing agencies were "completely dormant" and bodies like the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) were indulging in a blame game.

On Monday, air quality in Delhi oscillated between "poor" and "very poor" categories due to local pollutants as authorities predicted a further rise in the pollution level. The CPCB recorded an overall AQI of 314, which falls in the "very poor" category.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting (SAFAR) said the air quality in the national capital is "very poor" and at present, there is insignificant intrusion (of pollutants) from outside of Delhi". Delhi's air quality has been in the "very poor" category for the past one week but on Saturday it had improved to "poor" category for a brief period. It again slipped into "very poor" category on Sunday.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2018 16:01 PM

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