The National Green Tribunal (NGT), on November 10, 2017, directed the Delhi government and all public authorities, to strictly implement its order banning construction activity, in the wake of the alarming pollution levels in the capital.
The green panel ordered that if any violation of its order was found at the construction sites by the inspecting teams in Delhi and the National Capital Region, an environment compensation of Rs 1 lakh would be levied, for each such fault.
However, following a plea by the AAP government, the green panel allowed the industries engaged in essential services to operate in the Delhi-NCR, on the condition that they would not pollute or cause emission. A bench headed by NGT chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar, specifically asked the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to take a clear note of this direction.
It also asked the neighbouring states to strictly prevent stubble burning, saying there were reports of large-scale residue burning from some parts.
“It has been brought to our notice that in Karnal, Haryana, there are huge crop burning incidents taking place. We direct the state of Haryana, deputy commissioner of Karnal and deputy commissioner of all districts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab and their respective pollution control boards, to ensure that there should not be any crop residue burning in any state,” the NGT said. It said in case any such incident was brought to its notice and it is seen that the concerned departments have failed, the NGT will ‘impose exemplary cost that will be recovered from the salary of the concerned officials’.
Regarding the AAP government’s plea to allow industries dealing with essential services, it said: “It has been pointed out before us that some industries, which are non-polluting, are providing essential goods like food items or medical facilities.” These units ‘may be permitted to operate, subject to reasonable conditions’, it said and directed that essential services like food and medical facilities could be allowed, if the authorities find that their emissions are controlled and non-polluting. The tribunal asked the officials to show which colony has been picked up for sprinkling of water and observed that treated water from sewage treatment plants can be used for this purpose.