Concerned that the government may be pulled up again by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) over the capital’s poor air quality, the Delhi chief secretary held a meeting with the head of all departments on Saturday and directed them to comply with the tribunal’s orders. The NGT has been repeatedly rebuking the government and sending reminders to comply with its orders.
The meeting was convened by Chief Secretary KK Sharma in compliance with the NGT’s directions regarding air pollution.
The departments that attended the meeting included the Public Works Development, Transport department, Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi Police, Traffic Police, the three municipal corporations and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board.
The government has claimed to have formulated an action plan outlining both short and long-term measures to deal with the increasing air pollution. Sources said the department heads have been asked to work on this action plan in a time-bound manner.
Sharma cited the measures that have been taken to ensure cleaner air. “Based on registration data, 28 lakh vehicles have been found to be more than 15 years old. The Transport department will also prepare ‘realistic’ data of private vehicles more than 15 years old,” Sharma said.
To ensure a check on old vehicles on the city’s roads, the Transport department will launch an online website to get information on vehicles 15 years and older from private owners and update the database at the earliest.
Transport officials, however, said they need to clarify with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways as to what stand has been taken by the Ministry on the NGT’s orders regarding vehicles that are over 15 years old.
During the meeting, Kumar was also informed that Traffic police impounded 1,100 vehicles more than 15 years old after the NGT order.
The short-term measures discussed to reduce air pollution include effectively implementing pollution under control (PUC) norms, regulating the entry and exit of not-Delhi bound vehicles, rationalised parking policy, implementing Euro V norms, promoting e-rickshaws and prohibiting burning of garbage and other waste among others.
The long-term measures focused on developing and strengthening public transport in the city.
In this regard, the Transport department said it is taking up the matter with the DDA for providing parking space to accommodate 1,085 cluster buses.