NGT rejects Delhi’s exemption plea
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh refuses to meet his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to discuss issues related to pollution in the national capital
NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has rejected a plea from the Delhi government for exemption to women drivers and two-wheeler riders from a proposed odd-even car rationing plan, even as Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh refused to meet his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to discuss issues related to pollution in the national capital.
The Delhi government withdrew its petition with the NGT for modiications. The green panel asked Delhi to explain the logic for odd-even exemptions when they get back.
NGT asked the Delhi government: “When reports have stated that twowheelers are more polluting than four-wheelers, why do you intend to give arbitrary exemptions? Is this a joke? What does one stand to gain from this? “Why don’t you take positive steps? Why should we exempt anybody? If they (two-wheelers) are not polluting, we will allow them.” Why can’t you run “ladies only” buses to solve the problem of women’s transport during odd-even scheme, it asked.
“Don’t gift infected lungs to children,” the panel told the Delhi government. “They have to wear masks to school. What constitutes a health emergency according to you? Measures should be applied automatically by government after dangerous levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 persist for more than 48 hours.” Delhi government’s plea for the exemption was for one year or till 2,000 additional buses are engaged.
It also sought the NGT’S help to ensure that neighbouring states also implement odd-even scheme.
The toxic smog remained over Delhi. While people choked, visibility remained low. Several trains had to be cancelled. Oficials claimed the The Air Quality Index (AQI) showed an improvement, reading 308, oficials claimed. However, even at 308 the air quality remains “very poor.” Light showers expected on Wednesday could clear the smog, weathermen said, but that could also contribute to worsening of the fog.
Amarinder Singh’s response to Kejriwal was seen as a political one and not beitting a chief minister in times of a crisis like this. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has agreed to meet Kejriwal on Wednesday and the Delhi CM wanted Amarinder also to join.
The Kejriwal government argues that smoke from the burning ields of Punjab and Haryana is key contributing factor to Delhi’s choking smog.
But the Punjab Chief Minister earlier called Kejriwal a “peculiar person with views on everything but no understanding.” The Aam Aadmi Party was cool in its response. It said Kejriwal has been following up with Punjab and Haryana chief ministers on the smog issue. “Collective efforts are needed to resolve this grave issue,” AAP posted on Twitter.
Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, meanwhile, said the government is considering introduction of electric taxis and buses, bio-ethanol, methanol and other technologies to reduce pollution. The government is working on use of alternative and clean fuels, in place of diesel and petrol, as another way of reducing vehicular pollution.
The road transport ministry has formulated a Rs400 billion scheme to ease trafic congestion in Delhi which would also bring down pollution levels as “vehicles won’t be stuck in trafic burning extra fuel,” Gadkari said.
He said bypass roads, and upgrading of NH-24 into a 14-lane national highway will reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi by 50 per cent. The argument is that once the easterly and westerly bypass roads are open, thousands of vehicles can avoid Delhi. protested outside the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh here demanding death penalty within six months to those who rape children.
The protest followed the rape of a one-and-a-half-year-old girl in the capital.
Maliwal urged Rajnath Singh, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lt Governor Anil Baijal, and Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to chair a meeting on the issue. She also urged all the leaders to visit the rape victim in the hospital.
A 73-year-old woman was found murdered in her South Delhi home on Tuesday, police said.
The victim has been identiied as Chandra Mukhi, who resided in Savitri Nagar area with her son Kuldeep in separate lats of the same building.
According to the police, Mukhi was found murdered with her mouth, hands and legs tied up with clothes.
Kuldeep alerted police on Tuesday after he woke up and found his mother dead inside her ground loor lat.
Her son resides on the third loor of the building, the oficer said.
“During investigation, the lat was found ransacked, equipments lying on loor and almirahs opened,” oficer said.
Mukhi’s husband worked with the MCD. He had passed away few years back. While two of her other sons stay in Canada and the US.
The oficer said the probe will be from all possible angles including robbery and personal enmity.
“CCTV cameras in nearby shops and residences are also being checked to gather clues,” the oficer added.
A schoolboy walks across a pedestrian bridge as the morning sun is enveloped by a blanket of smog in New Delhi on Tuesday.