Lashing out at Delhi government for not taking timely preventive steps to tackle air pollution in the national capital, the National Green Tribunal on Monday asked it to sprinkle water on roads to contain dust, even by using choppers.
“What preventive steps did you take on air pollution in national capital? We want to know from you why didn’t your authorities sprinkle water on roads earlier? Why can’t you use helicopters to create artificial rain to control dust pollution. Are they only meant to carry your officials,” asked a bench headed by NGT Chairperson justice Swatanter Kumar.
The observations came as the bench was about to start the day’s proceedings, saying the smog, which has continued to engulf the capital for the eighth day today, was affecting the health of people, especially children, and the AAP government should take some immediate steps to handle the situation.
The tribunal also came down heavily on the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan over crop burning in their areas and asked them to take strict action against the violators.
“What are you doing to control crop burning in your states? 70 per cent of agricultural land is burning in Punjab.
Don’t you owe some responsibility? People are dying out of air pollution and you are doing nothing.
“All the states are shifting burden from one to another.
You people don’t worry about people’s health. Children are not able to go out of their houses due to the smog. See, what have you done to Delhi,” the bench said.
The NGT said that NASA has taken images to show that crop burning was responsible was the smog in the national capital and asked the state governments to use their energy to implement its directions, rather than “shifting caps”.
The NGT asked civic bodies to ensure that construction materials are not kept on the roads and directions passed by it earlier on this be implemented strictly.
The matter was listed for next hearing on Tuesday.
Earlier, the tribunal had castigated the Centre and AAP government for “shifting blame” and not taking steps to tackle the alarming pollution levels in Delhi, dubbed as the worst in 17 years.
Terming the situation as akin to that of an “emergency”, the NGT had observed that the Centre, Delhi government and other authorities were “not bothered” about the rising air pollution level and its consequences on the health of citizens of Delhi but instead “shifting the blame on each other”.