The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and several northern states to inform it about the steps they have been taken to check rising air pollution due to stubble burning and bursting of crackers. A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg asked the Centre, the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to file affidavits indicating compliance of its earlier orders on stubble burning and bursting of crackers.
The high court had in the fag end of last year issued directions to the neighbouring states of Delhi to prevent or curb the practice of stubble burning during autumn and winter months. It had also issued similar directions regarding bursting of crackers during Diwali.
On Tuesday, the bench said that on July 18 it will deal with the issue of stubble burning and bursting of crackers “keeping in mind the onset of autumn, diwali and winter which has seen an increase on pollution levels to alarming proportions in the last three to four years”.
The bench also directed the four neighbouring states of Delhi to indicate the “steps taken to contain and prevent air pollution”.
It also made the National Capital Region Planning Board a party to the proceedings and listed the matter for hearing on July 18.
The directions came when the court was hearing a PIL initiated by itself to address the issue of rising air pollution in the national capital.
During the hearing, amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev said the court’s directions for easing traffic congestion in the Anand Vihar area of east Delhi, were not being complied with by the authorities including the Indian Railways which is to build a foot over bridge and an access road near the bus depot there.
After perusing photographs of the area submitted by the amicus, the bench said the return of encroachments in the area along with the lack of a foot over bridge or access road to divert vehicles, the place has been turned into a “traffic nightmare”.
Thereafter, the Railways assured the court that the entire work would be completed by October 1 this year.