The National Green Tribunal on Monday ordered the Delhi government to pay a fine of Rs 25 crore to the Central Pollution Control Board for failing to curb pollution in the Capital. The tribunal also asked the Arvind Kejriwal-led government to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 25 crore with the pollution control board to prevent further lapses in this matter, PTI reported.
A bench headed by tribunal chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was hearing pleas filed by Mundka village resident Satish Kumar and Tikri-Kalan resident Mahavir Singh. The petitions alleged that burning of plastic, leather, rubber, motor engine oil and other waste materials by illegal industrial units in the Mundka and Neelwal villages was causing pollution.
The bench said despite its directives, the authorities “have hardly done anything concrete except furnishing excuses and helplessness” about the pollution. The green court had earlier asked former Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash to coordinate with municipal authorities, police authorities and other officials responsible for complying with the tribunal’s orders.
On October 30, the National Green Tribunal had asked the governments of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to take immediate steps to prevent crop residue burning, which increases pollution levels. At 3 pm on Monday, the Air Quality Index in Delhi stood at 328, which is in the “very poor” category.
Delhi and its surrounding areas have grappled with alarming levels of pollution each winter for the past few years. Kejriwal’s government had implemented the odd-even vehicle scheme twice in 2016, while the Supreme Court had banned bursting of firecrackers before Diwali in 2017 and this year as measures to combat pollution. However, levels of pollutant particulate matter in the air have always tended to soar in the NCR in winter, with the top court and NGT cracking down on the state government each year.