NGT refuses to exempt women, two-wheelers
NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday refused to exempt women and two-wheelers from the Delhi government’s odd-even car rationing scheme and directed it to ensure that over 10-year-old diesel vehicles be taken off the roads without delay.
Late on Tuesday evening, the Delhi government on Tuesday filed a fresh review petition before the National Green Tribunal in connection with the odd-even policy. In the second petition, the Delhi government stuck to its request of exempting women drivers and two-wheelers for a year or give them the time to add 2,000 buses to the state’s transport system. The Delhi government also proposed that the green tribunal direct Delhi’s neighbouring states to implement the oddeven scheme.
The tribunal, which expressed concern over the high pollution level which was an “environmental and health emergency”, said the city should “not gift infected lungs to its children.”
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also asked the Aam Aadmi Party government here to identify the most polluted areas and sprinkle water from high rise buildings.
The bench, however, allowed non-polluting industries who manufacture essential goods to operate.
During the hearing, the NGT also asked what the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were doing other than blaming each other.
The Delhi government had on Mon- day moved an application before the bench seeking modification of its November 11 order allowing odd-even scheme without exemptions.
Regarding functioning of industries in the NCR, the bench said “we clarify that industries manufacturing essential commodities like eatables have been exempted from the prohibiting orders of the NGT.
“We also direct that the industries whose emissions are within the prescribed parameters and which are non-polluting and compliant to the directions can operate subject to verification.”
It also allowed the construction work of the Eastern Peripheral Expressway in the NCR, which will bypass Delhi on the eastern side, subject to an assurance by the seniormost officer of the NHAI that no pollution would be caused.
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 the safety of ladies who do not have cars and travel by metros and buses? Why can’t you have a special ladies buses?”
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday again ruled out a meeting with his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, who wanted to hold talks over the issue of stubble burning, asking him not to "politicise" the serious matter.
Singh claimed he failed to understand why the Delhi chief minister was trying to force his hand, knowing well that any such discussion would be "meaningless and futile".
His response came after Kejriwal sought a meeting with him on Wednesday in Chandigarh.
"Sir, I am coming to Chandigarh on Wednesday to meet Haryana CM. Would be grateful if u cud spare sometime to meet me. It is in collective interest," Kejriwal tweeted on Tuesday.
Singh alleged that Kejriwal's tendency to indulge in petty street politics was well-known.
He said Kejriwal should stop politicising the serious issue of stubble burning.
He alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party leader was "trying to divert" public attention from his government's "failure" to check the problem of pollution in Delhi, as exposed in the National Green Tribunal's response to the "ill-conceived" odd-even scheme.
The problems faced by the national capital and Punjab on this count were completely different with no meeting ground, Singh said. He said unlike Punjab, Delhi's problem was the result mainly of urban pollution caused by "mismanaged" transportation and "unplanned" industrial development.
Instead of focusing his attention on resolving these issues, Kejriwal wanted to "waste" time holding "useless" discussions, Singh alleged, adding that he, unfortunately, did not have the same luxury of time.