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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Former petroleum secretary MM Kutty to head new air quality commission

The Centre has dissolved the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the NCR (EPCA) to make way for the functioning of the Commission.

Written by Esha Roy | New Delhi | Updated: November 6, 2020 11:51:18 am
Delhi: Pollutants 20 times above exposure limitLevels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 suspended in the air reached 15-20 times above their exposure limit at 17 out of 26 air quality monitoring stations of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) Tuesday morning. (Express file photo by Praveen Khanna)

Former Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dr M. M. Kutty, has been appointed chairperson of the newly set up Commission for Air Quality Management in the National capital Region and Adjoining areas. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the appointment of the new chairperson on Thursday, along with Joint Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Arvind Nautiyal, as a full time member of the commission and Ramesh K.J, former DG IMD and Professor Mukesh Khare of IIT-Delhi as full time technical members of the new body.

The Union Environment Ministry today announced the composition of the new commission which will include Dr. Ajay Mathur, DG TERI and Ashish Dhawan of the Air Pollution Action Group as the NGO representatives on the body. While the ordinance brought in by the MoEF and signed by the President on October 28th has provided for three NGO representatives, only two have been appointed so far.

The ex-officio members will include a representative of the Secretary, MoEF, Chief Secretaries or Secretaries-in-charge of the department dealing with environment protection from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, representative from Niti Ayog and two technical members, one from CPCB and the other from ISRO.

The commission is being set up to monitor and check the increasing air pollution levels in Delhi, the National capital region and its surrounding areas and will supersede all existing bodies, including the CPCB as well as the state governments in matters of air pollution mitigation.

The Centre has dissolved the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the NCR (EPCA) to make way for the functioning of the Commission. Ministry officials said that the Commission would have more powers than the EPCA not only in penal provisions, but also in its constitution as well as scope – as the EPCA, set up in 1998, looked at pollution control in the NCR whereas the Commission’s purview extends to “adjoining areas as well”.

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