Pol­lu­tion no Bhopal tragedy: Min­is­ter

Khaleej Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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

PTI

A fire­fighter sprays wa­ter onto the road­side trees in a bid to curb air pol­lu­tion by re­mov­ing ac­cu­mu­lated dust in New Delhi on Tues­day. —

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