Sunday 23 January 2022
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Task forces to check Delhi’s air pollution set up

Seventeen task forces have been former, which will report to the enforcement task force for pollution control, the union government told the Supreme Court

The union government told the Supreme Court today that the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas had constituted an “Enforcement Task Force”, comprising many task forces, to take steps to curb the rising air pollution levels.

The development follows the Supreme Court’s expression of strong displeasure at the inability of the union and state governments in the National Capital Region to check pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas.

Whether the Supreme Court is satisfied with this arrangement of constituting task forces will be known when it hears the matter again later today.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the union government informed that the five-member task force “will exercise powers of taking punitive and preventive measures against the non-compliant/defaulting persons/entities”. As a part of this, 17 task forces have been constituted and these will directly report to the main task force, it said.

Previously, the Central Pollution Control Board and the pollution control board or committee of the respective state governments were supposed to carry out the inspections.

The government said that these flying squads had started functioning from 2 December and were already conducting surprise checks at 25 sites. It assured that the number of such squads would be increased to 40 in the next 24 h.

The union government said that all schools and colleges in NCR would remain closed until further orders. Additionally, entry of trucks, except those running on CNG or electric power and carrying essential commodities, have been banned.

The affidavit stated that industrial units in the NCR that are not running on PNG or cleaner fuels would be permitted to operate for only upto 8 h a day during weekdays and remain closed during weekends.

Further, only five out of the 11 thermal power plants situated within 300 km of will remain operational till at least 15 December 2021.

The apex court had yesterday asked the government to take remedial measures to check pollution within 24 hours failing which it said it will be forced to act.

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