The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the states of Punjab and Haryana again for continued stubble burning despite the top court’s order against it, Bar and Bench reported. Earlier this month, the court had pulled up the two states along with Uttar Pradesh for failing to reduce cases of stubble burning, which is said to be one of the primary reasons for rising pollution levels in the national Capital and parts of North India.
In its November 6 order, the court had asked the state governments to buy the stubble that was being burnt by farmers. It had noted that air pollution was a “question of life and death of crores of people”.
“Why are Delhiites forced to live in gas chambers?” Justice Arun Mishra said on Monday. “It’s better to get explosives in bags and kill them in one go! Why are people made to suffer like this?” The top court was hearing a plea on air pollution in the national Capital, and parts of North India.
Mishra asked who would compensate the public for the damage to their lives that was caused due to the rising pollution levels. The judge noted that poor air quality was reducing the life span of people.
The Supreme Court instructed the Centre and Delhi government “to keep their differences aside” and come up with a plan within 10 days for setting up air purifying towers across the city, according to ANI.
This is the third time this month that the Supreme Court castigated the state governments for failing to take effective steps to combat rising pollution. On November 13, the top court had asked the Delhi government and the Central Pollution Control Board to provide two sets of data on the Air Quality Index in the national Capital from this year and 2018. The court had also ordered the Centre to examine the feasibility of using hydrogen-based fuel technology to tackle air pollution.
Water pollution in Delhi
The Supreme Court said that it will take suo motu cognisance of the water pollution problem in Delhi and verify whether the drinking water was safe or not for the public. The court asked the central and Delhi governments to report relevant statistics.
“We are literally shocked that water is polluted in Delhi and blame game is going on,” the court said.
Last week, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying that people were “deeply scared” of the city’s drinking water, which a Bureau of Indian Standards study found to be the most unsafe among 21 major Indian cities. Two days before that, Kejriwal had called the study “false and politically motivated”.