Pollution no Bhopal tragedy: Minister
new delhi — The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday turned down the Delhi government’s plea to exempt women drivers and twowheelers from the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme, saying there was “no logic” to the proposal.
The top green tribunal also asked the Delhi government to choose a spot in the city by 4pm on Tuesday and sprinkle water from helicopter on the area to know the efficacy of the step in reducing air pollution. Rapping the Delhi government for its plea, the tribunal asked why should exemption be given to twowheelers when they are a major cause of pollution.
“On what basis are you asking exemption for two-wheelers,” NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
On Delhi government counsel Tarunvir Singh Khehar raising the issue of women’s security, the tribunal said: “Why don’t you run Women’s Special buses?”
The tribunal also rapped the Delhi government over “delay” in the procurement of 4,000 additional buses and noted that sprinkling of water on pollution hotspots was not being done properly.
“Why don’t you act upon those who are responsible for pollution. How many people have you penalised or challaned so far,” Justice Kumar asked.
Following the tribunal’s order, the Delhi government withdrew its petition.
The tribunal said the Delhi government could move a fresh petition before it on the traffic rationing scheme.
It said Delhi government could use helicopters, if necessary, to sprinkle water at a pollution hotspot in the city to know its efficacy.
“Choose one place in Delhi by 4pm and sprinkle water and thereafter calculate the particle pollution to know how much difference does it make,” the tribunal said.
The tribunal also allowed the National Highways Authority of India to go ahead with construction of the Delhi-Meerut Highway at the eastern periphery of the city but said there should be no dust pollution.
The Delhi government had on Saturday decided to halt the oddeven traffic restriction scheme, which was scheduled to be implemented from November 13 to 17. It moved the NGT on Monday with a review petition seeking exemptions for two-wheelers and women.
Meanwhile, India’s environment minister has said the country’s filthy air is no cause for alarm, claiming only “routine precautions” were needed to cope with what doctors have called a public health emergency. Harsh
Choose one place in Delhi by 4pm and sprinkle water and thereafter calculate the particle pollution to know how much difference does it make. National Green Tribunal
Vardhan contrasted the pollution choking large swathes of north India, including the capital, with the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal that killed at least 25,000 people and remains the world’s worst industrial disaster.
Bhopal, he argued was “an emergency situation where you have to panic and you have to see what you have to do,” he said in an interview published on the CNN-18 news channel website on Tuesday.
But on the current smog crisis he said: “I’m not saying we shouldn’t do anything about it, everyone has to respond to what he is supposed to do. But there is no need to spread panic among the people.”
Vardhan said “routine precautions” were all that were needed to cope with levels of dangerous pollutants in the air that have exceeded World Health Organization safety guidelines many times over every day for the past week.
India’s leaders have been criticised for failing to do more to tackle rising pollution levels, which experts say are wiping years off the lives of its citizens. — IANS, AFP
A firefighter sprays water onto the roadside trees in a bid to curb air pollution by removing accumulated dust in New Delhi on Tuesday. —