A day after play was interrupted twice during the ongoing Test match between India and Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday rapped the Delhi government for failing to curb air pollution.
“Every newspaper has been carrying headline that the air pollution was going to be higher this week. Still you took no action. Even the players were playing match wearing masks. You should have not held the match if the air quality was so bad. Are people of Delhi supposed to bear this?” the bench said.
The Sri Lankan team complained of poor air quality and were forced to wear facemasks during the first innings.
The bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar also pulled up the AAP government for its failure to file a comprehensive action plan despite its order.
In the course of the hearing, the Delhi government stated that it required more time to file the action plan as the appointments of the chief secretary and environment secretary have been recently changed. The tribunal, however, instructed the Delhi government to file and submit the action plan within 48 hours.
“Where is your action plan? Why have you not submitted it? What can we do if you keep on changing everybody? It’s not our problem if people don’t want to stick to you. You keep on doing meetings but tell us a single action or step you have taken in the last four days to combat air pollution,” the bench was quoted as saying.
The bench further added that the government is adopting a “lackadaisical” attitude in curbing the air quality menace at a time when pollution levels in the city have already reached alarming levels.
NGT also reprimanded the AAP government for not introducing the ‘odd-even’ car rationing scheme. “You want exemptions for two-wheelers but you don’t apply your mind that these 60 lakh vehicles cause the maximum pollution,” the tribunal said.
The government’s failure to introduce 4,00 buses in a bid to decongest the roads in the NCR region also irked the NGT bench. The tribunal had on November 28 exhorted the AAP government and the four states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to draft an action plan to curb the alarming levels of air pollution.
NGT had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board , Delhi Pollution Control Committee and all other pollution control boards to submit a report on air quality analysis before the NGT on a monthly basis. It also asked these boards to upload these report on their respective websites so as to make the concerned authorities take stringent action to curb air pollution.