The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and other agencies how the amount collected as ‘green cess’ from commercial vehicles entering the capital will be spent to mitigate air pollution. The court noted that Rs 700 crore was collected as “green cess”, of which, as per rules, 25 per cent was provided to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
It also asked the public agencies, MCDs, DPCC and the Delhi government to indicate the most appropriate methods to ensure a coordinated approach in dealing with polluting construction sites under the Environment Protection Act. It further asked the Delhi government to consider the feasibility of applying to the Centre under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Act for release of additional funds for pollution-control measures.
Amicus Curiae, Senior Counsel Kailash Vasdev, then said no action was taken on the court’s November 9 orders to control pollution: “Your orders are kept on the bridge. The court is showing urgency. The government, however, is not.”
A bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva then posed a slew of questions to the DPCC counsel, Sanjeev Ralli, on construction violations. “How many complaints have been given? How many have been pursued?… What prevents you (DPCC) from effecting injunction (to an ongoing construction)? You can even recommend an amendment (to the existing rules) and it (construction) could be suspended for a period of a year.”
On the mechanism to enforce the air pollution act and other rules/notifications to curb such violations, the bench said, “We have to understand what process they are adopting. Is there a systematic approach, or one fine day they say okay let me do it. What are the norms for inspection? How many teams are there… Do you have a list of ongoing constructions?”
The counsel then explained that a Rs 50,000 fine per violation was imposed on several construction sites. The bench then said “We are not revenue collectors.” The court listed the matter on November 29 for further hearing.
Delhi HC nod to half marathon
The Delhi High Court allowed the Delhi half marathon to be held on November 19. On Thursday, Procam International and Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), organisers of the event, underlined that they were providing best of the facilities to the participants.
Procam said the entire course would be washed and treated with water mixed with salt. Thereafter, there would be intermittent spraying of water on the route between 2 am and 10 am. Procam said facilities for participants include six medical stations, seven ambulances, 75 doctors, 50 physiotherapists and over 100 nurses, and 12 water stations.