The Supreme Court today, hearing a case on increasing pollution in Delhi-NCR, said that governments could not leave people to die from pollution like this. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the State governments, “Do you want to push the country 100 years behind?” During the hearing, the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi were present in the court.
Justice Arun Mishra asked chief secretary of Delhi Vijay Kumar Dev, “You cannot solve the problem of dust, waste and construction works, why do you remain in this post?” The court on Tuesday had registered a new case on the issue as pollution reached a dangerous level.
Justice Mishra said, “Everyone knows that stubble will be burnt every year. Why do governments not prepare for this in advance? Why are machines not provided to the people? This shows that no steps have been taken to curb pollution throughout the year.”
Taking on the Punjab government, the apex court said that they failed miserably in the discharge of their duties.
For a long time, air quality in Delhi has remained at a very serious and extremely poor level. However, there is a possibility of rain in Delhi-NCR on 7 November. Wind speed will also increase, which will reduce pollution.
Supreme Court ‘will not spare those who break the rules’
The Supreme Court reprimanded the government and said, “Why don’t governments buy or collect stubble from farmers?” The court said that it expected more from democratic governments to stop pollution and solve the problem of burning stubble. “If anyone breaks the rules and regulations, they will not be spared. The government has forgotten the concept of welfare. It has no concern for the poor,” the bench remarked.
The Supreme Court said further, “It is a matter related to the life and death of crores of people. We have to make the government responsible for this. Don’t you feel ashamed that flights are diverted and people are not safe even in their homes? We cannot even guess what diseases people have to suffer from due to this pollution… This is unfortunate.”
Supreme Court had banned stubble-burning on Monday
On another matter related to pollution on Monday, the Supreme Court had imposed an immediate ban on burning stubble in the fields, describing the situation as very serious. Along with this, all types of construction works were banned in Delhi-NCR.
The court had said that people would not be allowed to die. The apex court also summoned the chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.
The court had said that scientific data showed that due to pollution, the lifespan of the people of Delhi is reducing.
Delhi-NCR had but witnessed a major reduction in pollution on Tuesday. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded between 300 and 351 at Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon centres.
The AQI in Delhi dropped 83 points in 24 hours. It was recorded 324 on Tuesday. This was the cleanest air in the last 10 days. Air pollution in all 36 centres of Delhi did not reach the severe category unlike before. It stayed at the “very poor” level.
According to the pollution monitoring agency Safar, the contribution of pollutants in the air on Tuesday was 12%. It was 14% on Monday and 25% on Sunday.
As many as 4,962 cases of stubble burning by farmers were recorded on 4 November, the highest in the season. But the wind speed was up to 40 km per hour in this region, which mitigated the polluting impact of the act.
PM monitoring situation
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed the problem of pollution in the areas of Delhi and adjoining townships. The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted and gave information about it.
Modi reviewed the situation arising out of the storm in parts of western India. Earlier, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister PK Mishra had held review meetings for two consecutive days.