Supreme Court Raps Delhi & Punjab Govts Over Pollution Choking The Capital

New Delhi: The Supreme Court continues a marathon hearing into a clutch of petitions about the toxic air that blankets and chokes the national capital every winter. And this winter is no different.

On Tuesday, a bench of Justices SK Kaul and S Dhulia ordered Aam Aadmi Party-ruled Punjab and Delhi to take action against the burning of agricultural waste, which adds significantly to Delhi’s AQI crisis.

“This is the most polluted November in six years… the problem is known (and) it is your job to control it,” the court told the two states, and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh – ruled by the BJP.

The court also reprimanded the Delhi government over delayed funding of the Delhi-Meerut RRTS (regional rapid transport system) and ordered funds be transferred from the AAP’s spending on ads.

“You have not complied with our order. We don’t have any other way. You can’t take us for granted…”

In July, the court rebuked the Delhi government after it said it could not contribute to a rail network that will connect the city to neighbouring states and is expected to reduce vehicular traffic.

“If Delhi government doesn’t pay the RRTS amount within a week, the funds will be transferred from its ‘advertisements’ allocations,” the court warned the ruling AAP.

The court was, however, more sympathetic to the condition of farmers in Punjab, who have come under severe scrutiny (again) for burning agricultural or crop waste, or stubble. “The farmer is being made a villain… and he is not being heard from. He must have some reason to burn this stubble.”

The court suggested the Punjab government offer farmers incentives to not burn stubble. “They should learn from Haryana regarding incentives given to farmers,” the court observed.


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