NGT raps Haryana, Punjab over lack of ‘immediate’ steps to improve AQI

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NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the governments of Haryana and Punjab, besides the Commission of Air Quality Management (CAQM) for NCR, for the absence of “immediate remedial action” over continuous dipping of air quality.

The tribunal has taken a suo motu notice of air quality in different cities on a pan-India basis as reflected in the air quality bulletins of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). During the last hearing on November 1, the Chief Secretaries of different states were directed to take immediate remedial action and submit an action taken report.

On November 10, the tribunal observed “almost a week has passed but no significant improvement in the air quality in different cities under consideration has been found and, in fact, in some cities air quality is either at the same stage or has dipped further.”

On action taken reports from states, it noted: “We find in these reports, mostly long-term action plans for controlling air pollution have been mentioned, but the tribunal direction to take ‘immediate remedial action’ has not been fully complied with.” It added the perusal of AQI data of cities from November 3 to 9 did not “depict any significant improvement”.

“The state authorities concerned and the Chief Secretaries, therefore, are required to review their approach and come up with adequate measures so that the air quality in the cities concerned improves. This may require identification of major contributing sources of pollution causing deterioration of air quality and to take immediate steps to control it. This is all the more necessary as in the forthcoming Diwali festival and prevailing contributory factors, the air quality may dip further,” directed the NGT.

It direct Chief Secretaries of states where cities’ AQI has dipped or continued to be severe, very poor and poor, to take all possible immediate remedial measures and ensure the air quality improved.