Noting that air pollution persists in the national capital despite several remedial steps having been taken by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan governments to file affidavits enumerating measures initiated by them to control it.
Observing that until a couple of decades ago this was the best time in Delhi, the court said the city is now marred by worsening air quality and it is difficult to even step outside the house.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice SK Kaul directed the five states to file affidavits within a week.
“The concerned states should file an affidavit setting forth what steps they have taken to redeem the position. We call upon the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to file an affidavit within a week,” the bench, also comprising Justices Sudhanshu Dhulia and P K Mishra, said while posting the matter for further hearing on November 7.
The top court also directed the CAQM to submit in a tabular form the result of the relevant period when the problem started and the current ground situation, including parameters like the Air Quality Index (AQI) and the number of incidents of farm fires.
The bench said crop burning is one of the main reasons for air pollution in Delhi.
The top court had earlier sought a report from the CAQM on steps being taken to control air pollution in and around Delhi.
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On October 6, the CAQM had directed government authorities in the National Capital Region to enforce a ban on use of coal in hotels and restaurants and to take punitive measures against polluting industries and thermal power plants as the air quality in Delhi deteriorated.
The directions were issued as part of the pollution control plan known as ‘Graded Response Action Plan’ (GRAP) which is implemented in Delhi-NCR to combat air pollution during the winter season.
The CAQM is an autonomous body tasked with improving the air quality in Delhi and its adjoining areas.