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The Supreme court on Thursday directed the Centre to file a detailed affidavit explaining the reasons for the delay in the completion of the smog tower project which was directed to be completed in three months in order to curb air pollution problem in Delhi.

In December 2019, the apex court bench headed by apex court gave Delhi and Central government three months for setting up “smog tower" at Connaught place in Delhi to curb air pollution in the capital. As per the orders of the court, the Central Government had constituted a high-level committee comprising of the Principal Secretary, officials of departments of Environments, Delhi government and IIT experts to look into the pollution management technology to control the pollution menace.

The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Central Pollution Control Board, while arguing in the anti-pollution matter on Thursday, apprised the bench that it was not physically and practically possible to complete the work in three months. He added, "The drawing of the tower will be made available by IIT Bombay in 2 months. Technical part will take 3 months and setting it up will take 10 months."

An indignant bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said, "Why are you taking shelter of technology? Our orders have been violated and there is no intention to comply with it also."

"We will not permit this. File a detailed affidavit by Monday. We will not postpone after that anymore. You have to answer all our queries. We will not tolerate this laxity!" said the bench also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and MR Shah.

Mehta, also submitted that the government is in contact with IIT Bombay authorities and an MOU will be signed with requisite stakeholders. “The MoU will be signed electronically and will be placed on record," said Mehta.

The Supreme court on Wednesday warned Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, of contempt proceedings for backing out from the government’s projects to install smog towers to battle pollution crisis in Delhi.

Every winter, the national capital region is enveloped by a thick shroud of poisonous smog, forcing the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority’ (EPCA) to declare a public health emergency and the Delhi government to order schools shut -- something that has become an annual practice.

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