Delhi air pollution: AAP Government withdraws petition for odd-even modifications as NGT refuses to exempt women, two-wheelers
By Express News Service | Published: 14th November 2017 01:41 PM |
NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over high pollution levels in the national capital, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday refused to exempt women and two-wheelers from the Delhi government’s odd-even vehicle rationing scheme and directed it to ensure that over 10-year-old diesel vehicles be taken off the roads without delay.
Terming the smog situation in Delhi-NCR as an environmental and health emergency, the tribunal headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar asked Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to identify the most polluted areas on Tuesday and sprinkle water from high-rise buildings.
“The city should not gift infected lungs to its children,” the NGT observed.
The bench, however, allowed non-polluting industries who manufacture essential goods to operate.
During the hearing, the NGT also asked, “What is Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab doing? All of you are just blaming each other. You cannot just shift blame?”
Meanwhile, the Delhi government withdrew its plea as the NGT was not convinced with its submission that the city did not have adequate public transport to cater to over 25 lakh commuters. It sought modification of its November 11 order allowing odd-even scheme without exemptions.
However, the state government again approached the NGT with fresh plea praying for exemption for two-wheelers and women drivers.
“If you permit 68 lakh two-wheelers to ply, what will be the extent of the pollution? You said thousands of buses were ordered but have not got a single bus yet. You wait for a crisis,” the bench said.
Expressing anguish over the plea seeking permission to exempt women drivers from the odd-even scheme, the NGT asked “are you (Delhi government) not responsible for safety of ladies who do not have cars and travel by metros and buses on a daily basis? Why can’t you have a special ladies buses?”
The bench directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi government, Transport Department and pollution control boards to coordinate with each other in order to control pollutants in the air and take steps in accordance with its orders.