NGT re­fuses to ex­empt women, two-wheel­ers

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE - SAYAN­TAN GHOSH

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.

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