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Enough Is Enough: Supreme Court Slams Bureaucracy Over Pollution

A Bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, which heard the case for over two hours, said, “Enough is enough. We cannot get into all the nitty gritty of the issue.

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre and states to ensure implementation of the decisions taken in a meeting to curb air pollution, observing that it cannot get into the “nitty gritty” and the bureaucracy has developed a “sort of inertia" of not taking decisions which left to the courts to pass orders.

Delhi's air quality improved marginally, registering the 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) at 375 on Wednesday from 403 the day before. Authorities, however, said no major improvement is likely till Sunday.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjoining Areas, which held the meeting at the direction of the apex court on Tuesday with the Centre, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan, came out with a slew of emergency steps to deal with industrial pollution, thermal plants, vehicular emissions, dust control, diesel generators as well as encouraging work from home.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, which heard the case for over two hours, said, “Enough is enough. We cannot get into all the nitty gritty of the issue. You please take the steps to deal with the emergency situation”.

The Bench, which did not pass any directions, asked the Centre and the states to implement the measures, decided in the meeting, to curb the pollution. “People sitting in five and seven star hotels here keep blaming farmers, that 4-5 per cent is attributed to them. After agrarian laws, what happened to their land holdings? With such small land holdings, can they afford these machines? If you actually have any scientific alternative, propose it to them, they will adopt them," it said.

It has been acknowledged that vehicular pollution is the major source of pollution and still “gas guzzlers and hi-fi cars” are plying on Delhi roads and nothing is being done, the bench said.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, alleged that he has been targeted in TV debates with “nasty utterances” about his submissions on contribution of stubble burning to the air pollution in Delhi-NCR and they claimed that he had misled the court.

The Delhi government on Wednesday issued 10 directions, including a ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items in the city and closure of schools and colleges till further orders, even as the air quality improved marginally due to a dip in emissions from farm fires.

The Delhi government has banned construction and demolition activities in the city till November 21. It has also ordered its employees to work from home till Sunday.


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