Kutty heads panel on air pollution in NCR

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/6/2020 11:54:35 PM

NEW DELHI, Nov 6: In lieu of an Ordinance issued on October 29 to control air pollution in Delhi's National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas, the Environment Ministry has gazetted a 15-member Commission for Air Quality Management, with former Petroleum Secretary Dr M M Kutty as its full-time chairman and three full-time members, namely Arvind Kumar Nautiyal, joint secretary in the ministry, IIT Delhi professor Mukesh Khare and Ramesh K J, former director general of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Kutty is also a former chief secretary of Delhi.
Ashish Dhawan of NGO air pollution action group and Dr Ajay Mathur, director general of the Energy Research Institute, New Delhi, are its two members from the non-government organisations, while nine others are ex-officio members from the state governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and the technical members from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and thee Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The notification was issued on Thursday, a day before a Supreme Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde is to hear a PIL filed by Aditya Dubey, a minor, on Friday. On October 29, the Court refused to react instantly on the Ordinance placed before it, seeking inputs from all parties on Friday before taking a decision.
The Court originally sought to appoint its former judge Justice Madan Bhimarao Lokur, who was heading the environment bench until retirement, as a one-man committee, but it put on hold its decision on the government offering to set up a statutory body through an Ordinance that has wide powers to deal with the air pollution menace in Delhi and the surrounding states.
The Ordinance makes pollution an offence with a jail term, which can go up to 5 years and a penalty up to Rs 1 crore. It says: “Any non-compliance of this Ordinance, rules made there under or any other order or direction issued by the Commission shall be an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to five years or with fine which may extend up to one crore rupees or with both.”
The Commission will look into issues of stubble burning which aggravates the situation every year in winter, vehicular pollution, dust pollution and all other factors, which contribute towards the deterioration of the quality of air in Delhi-NCR. It will submit annual reports to Parliament. It will be a central body for all purposes, with an exclusive authority on the air quality management of Delhi-NCR.
Orders of the Commission can be challenged only before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), headed by an ex-judge of the Supreme Court and not in any civil court.



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