The Supreme Court on Friday issued a directive summoning the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh in last week of November for failing to curb air pollution. All the chief secretaries will have to appear before the court on November 29. They will also require to file a compliance report on the previous order of the apex court by November 25.
The court also enquired from the Punjab Government whether farmers are being compensated as per its previous order. The state government lawyer said that compensation worth Rs 90 crore to farmers have been made. On November 6, the SC had asked UP, Haryana and Punjab governments to provide Rs 100 per quintal assistance within seven days to small and marginal farmers to help them from burning stubble to clear fields.
The court stated that simply implementing the Odd-Even scheme will not work as it is not so effective, adding that it only affects the middle class, while the rich have every number of cars. The apex court also added that public transport is free and very strong in the countries where this scheme is applicable, but such is not the case here.
Only cars are taken into consideration for the Odd-Even scheme, while other vehicles cause more pollution, noted the SC. The court asked the Centre to consider installing air purifier towers in Delhi. The Delhi government defended the scheme saying that it reduced pollution by 5-15 per cent.
However, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) highlighted that as per its study there was no more benefit than 4 per cent benefit from this scheme. The CPCB said that cars produce three per cent, trucks cause eight per cent, two-wheelers produce seven per cent and three-wheelers cause four per cent pollution. According to CPCB, dumping garbage in the open, road dust, construction waste is the main cause of pollution.
Central government filed an affidavit regarding data on pollution in the Delhi-NCR region. The SC observed that the AQI in closed rooms is very bad, while outside is worse.
The government said that the air purifier 'Vayu' has been installed in Delhi, whose trials are going on and that will take at least a year. A professor from IIT-Bombay said that the tower will clear the air below its area and that within its one km radius. He suggested that towers similar to those in China should be installed. Reacting to this, Justice Arun Mishra said, "Find some other technology which can clean the air for greater range, at least 10 km."