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SC warns IIT Bombay of contempt proceedings over withdrawal from 'smog tower project'

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 Photo: Hindustan TimesPremium
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 Photo: Hindustan Times

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

New Delhi: 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.

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Control Board, while arguing in the anti-pollution matter on Wednesday, apprised the top court that IIT Bombay had withdrawn its participation from the pilot project of installing smog towers. The government is now trying to work out with IIT Delhi experts and experts at National Environmental Engineering Research Institutes.

An indignant Justice Arun Mishra heading the three judge bench said "How can they back out from a government project? I will draw contempt against them. What is this nonsense? I cannot tolerate this nonsense. We will punish IIT Bombay. How can they back out after 6 months?"

Justice Mishra asked Mehta to talk to IIT Bombay authorities immediately and respond within first 15minutes then 30 minutes and then finally agreeing to 24 hours.

Mehta pleaded, "I cannot in 15 minutes. Give me 24 hours. Nothing will change in 24 hours. Your lordship, please put yourself in my position."

The bench also comprising Justices Vineet Saran and MR Shah expressed their displeasure and observed that they are “not at all happy with the state of affairs". However, the bench taking into account Mehta’s request agreed to heard the case on Thursday.

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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