The Supreme Court has said that the people in Delhi-National Capital Region are losing “precious years of their lives” and cannot be “left to die” due to the “atrocious” pollution situation which reflects a “shocking state of affairs”. It has directed neighbouring Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh to stop stubble burning.
The top court also stopped all construction and demolition activities as well as garbage and waste burning in the Delhi-National Capital Region till further orders.
Passing a slew of directions to curb alarming pollution levels in Delhi-NCR, it said citizens cannot be evacuated from the national capital amid reports that people have been advised not to visit the city and leave it due to the environmental hazard.
Anguished over the rampant instances of stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, the top court summoned their chief secretaries on November 6 saying the time has come to “fix accountability” for this kind of situation which violates the right to life of citizens.
The court directed the Centre and the states concerned to prepare a roadmap within three weeks to prevent a situation in future like the one that is currently prevailing in the region due to toxic air quality.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta directed the chief secretaries of the three states as well as the district collectors and the police machinery to ensure that not even a single instance of stubble burning takes place there henceforth.
During the hearing, senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, told the bench that as per the recent affidavit filed by the Centre, stubble burning contributes to around 46 per cent pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The top court further said Rs 1 lakh penalty will be imposed for construction or demolition activities in Delhi-NCR and the offenders involved in garbage or waste burning would be penalised by Rs 5,000.
The bench observed that it is shocking that every year, Delhi-NCR is chocking due to severe pollution and “we are not able to do anything”.