March 14, 2021 1:36:06 am
Five months after it was first set up through an ordinance brought in by the Centre, the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas stands suspended with the ordinance having lapsed Friday.
Confirming that the Commission will not be operational till the time the Bill is passed in Parliament, Environment Secretary RP Gupta Saturday said, “The Bill has been sent to the Cabinet and now awaits approval. As soon as it is passed by Parliament, the Commission will continue its work. Till that time, the Commission stands suspended. In the meantime, the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Boards will carry on monitoring air pollution levels, and taking measures, as they have always done.”
The Environment Secretary pointed out that there was no question of the Commission not being set up: “A focused approach of tackling the challenge of air pollution in the NCR air shed is absolutely essential. This is not possible with just the Centre or the states — Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — carrying out mitigation measures in silos. So, the Commission will be formed through an Act of Parliament.”
Ordinances must be approved by Parliament within six weeks of the Parliament convening or they cease to operate. Sources in the Ministry said they had expected the Bill to have been approved by the Cabinet and tabled in this Parliament session.
The Commission came into existence after President Ram Nath Kovind promulgated the ordinance on October 28. The move came within days of the government indicating to the Supreme Court that it was considering an institutional measure to address air pollution in the NCR.
The erstwhile Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA had been dissolved to make way for the Commission.
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