NGT blasts Delhi, Punjab, Haryana govts over alarming air pollution, bans all construction works in NCR

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday imposed a ban on all construction works in Delhi-NCR for a week in the wake of alarming air pollution in the national capital.

NGT blasts Delhi, Punjab, Haryana govts over alarming air pollution, bans all construction works in NCR

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday pulled up the governments of Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana over looming air pollution while imposing a ban on all kind of construction work in the national capital and NCR for next seven days.

The tribunal also issued an advisory to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi to make sure that no waste crop are burnt in their state and to come up with a solution to tackle the issue as soon as possible.

"No stone crushers will be used and no garbage will be burnt for next seven days," NGT members told the governments of five states. Furthermore, it directed the governments of these states for a coordination meeting with Delhi Chief Secretary to find a solution to the problem. 

It also asked the Delhi and four neighbouring states to present preventive, precautionary and curative measures in the hearing to be held on Wednesday.

With Delhi pollution reaching alarming level and citizens increasingly suffering from breathing and other related problems, the National Green Tribunal said, "This is a matter of life and death. You have forced the children to confine themselves to their houses."

Slamming the Delhi government over the adverse condition of air quality in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR), it questioned that why timely action was not taken to combat the air pollution. 

"Cracker bursting during Diwali and stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana during this season are known factors to adversely affect the air quality. However, despite that, no major steps were taken by the Delhi Government in advance to tackle the pollution," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. 

"Did you hold any meeting in the month of August or September to prepare the state to tackle pollution? The Delhi government did nothing in the last five days and let the pollution levels in the capital escalate," NGT said. 

"You have any data that shows a reduction of smog? What happened to your proposal of sprinkling water using a helicopter? Why are you sprinkling water through cranes and not helicopters?" the tribunal said in a series of questions. 

"Officers present here aren't revealing ground reality. All we see is construction work on Delhi-Chandigarh route that violates guidelines," it said further. 

The NGT came down heavily on Punjab and Haryana governments over 'emergency like situation in Delhi' and not making any serious effort to stop crop burning in their states. 

"What major steps have you taken to reduce crop-burning? How many machines have you provided to the farmers for agriculture waste disposals? If you had provided even Rs 1,000 to the farmers, they would not have burnt the agriculture wastage like this," NGT said to the Punjab government. 

It also criticized the Haryana government of doing "nothing to control the situation of smog and pollution." 

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