NGT dismisses Delhi govt plea on odd-even exemptions
New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday rejected the Delhi government’s plea seeking exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers in its odd-even scheme to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region, effectively ruling out any chance of the scheme being implemented soon.
The NGT also pulled up the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab for blaming each other for the decline in air quality and asked them to list the steps taken to control pollution.
The decision to implement the odd-even scheme was taken by the Delhi government last week after the city witnessed ‘severe’ and ‘emergency’ levels of air quality.
The government was set to introduce the odd-even scheme for the period 13-17 November, but shelved the plan after the NGT on Saturday ruled against the several exemptions provided in the scheme.
On Monday, the government had approached the tribunal specifically seeking exemptions for women drivers and two wheelers. The government withdrew its application on Tuesday after it failed to convince the NGT.
The tribunal also questioned the government over the number of public transport buses in the city and said that the government claimed it ordered thousands of buses but hadn’t got a single one yet.
The tribunal directed Delhi to ensure that diesel vehicles that are more than 10 years old are removed from city roads without any delay. It also said the city should not gift infected lungs to its children.
“It is pointed out that large number of diesel taxis are being permitted to ply in NCT Delhi contrary to the judgment and directions of the Supreme Court of India. We direct the state government to look into this aspect and particularly the diesel vehicles which are more than 10 years old must be taken off the road and seized without any further wasting of time,” the bench noted.
The tribunal also directed the Delhi government, all the municipal corporations and the PCBs (Pollution Control Boards) to identify a highly polluted area in Delhi by Tuesday evening and “ensure sprinkling of water by using appropriate equipment and if possible even through the helicopter to bring down the particulate matters in the ambient air quality.”
The bench also directed the Union environment ministry, the Delhi government’s transport ministry, PCBs of states in Delhi-NCR and the governments of Delhi and its neighbouring states to fully coordinate and cooperate to control air pollution.