New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the central government time till Thursday to come out with an action plan to curb the alarming level of air pollution in the national capital as it was told that the authorities have not complied with its December 16 directions.
The bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice S.A. Bobde asked the government to submit the plan as Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar sought two days time to sit with the Union Environment and Forest Secretary and the officials of Delhi government to chalk out a plan to deal with the alarming situation.
The court described the pollution level in Delhi as “dreaded, severe and disaster”, observing that it was a serious issue to be tackled immediately.
Giving time to the Solicitor General till Thursday, Chief Justice Thakur asked: “Do you have a plan, a protocol and how you will manage it,” adding: “There has to be a broad policy (to deal with rising air pollution).”
“We are not passing any order immediately. We will pass a comprehensive order.”
Seeking time to talk to officials, Ranjit Kumar told the court that “Delhi has grown in such proportions that everything is commercial and everything is in dual use”.
Ranjit Kumar, who has been associated with the environmental matters dealt by the top court in the past, also said “city is expanding on such a scale, there is no control how it should grow”.
Pointing to the perennial traffic snarls in Delhi, he said that a journey that takes one hour and 20 minutes under the normal conditions could be covered in 20 minutes. During this journey, the air conditioning is on and that too contributes to the rising air pollution levels – an area that has not been addressed so far, he noted.
Amicus curiae Aparjita Singh told the court that authorities have not complied with the orders passed by the top court on December 16.
The top court by its December 16, 2015 order had increased by 100 percent the environment compensation charge (ECC) for loaded commercial vehicles entering Delhi and imposed a blanket ban on the registration of diesel vehicles of engine capacity of 2,000 cc and above in the entire National Capital Region.
The top court had on August 12 lifted the ban as it directed that all diesel cars, SUVs and other vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc and more could be registered in the National Capital Region on the payment of one per cent of ex-showroom price of the car as environment compensation charge which would be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The court, by the same order, had also barred the entry of vehicles which are not bound for Delhi.