Supreme Court raps Delhi government for for opposing technology to fight pollution

Updated: Aug 19, 2019, 18:30 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The Delhi government informed the court that it was considering the purchase of only one or two machines and not five machines as suggested by the EPCA

Supreme Court raps Delhi government for for opposing technology to fight pollution
Air Pollution in New Delhi, Pic/Twitter IANS

On Monday, the Supreme Court rapped the Delhi government for opposing the use of technology in order to fight pollution in the state. Coming harsh on the state government, the apex court asked whether the government wants the children to live in good quality air or no.

During the last hearing which took place in July, the bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta had asked the Centre and the Delhi Transport Department to respond to the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) report.

According to the EPCA report filed before the apex court, a meeting was held on July 16 with all stakeholders or government agencies, including the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and the Delhi Transport Department.

The meeting focussed on the implementation of remote sensing devices to monitor pollution emitted by vehicles, which is referred to as on-road emissions monitoring. The technology would also help the government to capture the images of the number plates of the vehicles breaching the emission norms.

Also Read: Number of days with good air quality on rise in Delhi: Government

Senior advocate Aparajita Singh informed the court that the implementation of this technology was very crucial in order to monitor polluting vehicles. Not only would it help in keeping a check on the emission of particulate matter (PM) but also other hazardous gases like nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur oxides (SOx) etc

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has already agreed on this matter, reports IANS. The apex court asked the Delhi government counsel to identify the ground for opposing the implementation of the technology but could not get a convincing reply.

While delivering its verdict, the Supreme Court gave the green signal to the technology and have asked the Delhi government to implement it in the state in order to curb pollution. The Supreme Court also cautioned the Delhi government to stick to its responsibility for the people in the city and should offer full cooperation on the matter. The matter has been fixed for further hearing in the next two months.

The Delhi government informed the court that it was considering the purchase of only one or two machines and not five machines as suggested by the EPCA. The Delhi government cited insufficient experience in the implementation of the technology for not purchasing five machines. This response from the government did not go down well with the court.

The amicus had earlier informed the apex court that the technology was already implemented successfully in Kolkata. Aparajita Singh told the court that an agency which was tasked by the top court to test the technology had scanned about 1.76 lakh vehicles and concluded that this technology was useful and could help to curb pollution in Delhi.

Also Read: Delhi government below average on traffic management, pollution: Survey

The amicus had requested the top court to ask the Delhi Transport Department and MoRTH to respond to its report on the implementation of the technology. In contrast to the Delhi government, MoRTH submitted an affidavit indicating its response on EPCA's report.

According to the report, MoRTH shall be required to frame rules under the Central Motor Vehicle Act. These rules will define the scope of the remote sensing program to enforce and monitor on-road emissions across the state of Delhi.

According to the EPCA report, this technology of remote sensing on-road emissions will co-exist with the ongoing pollution under control (PUC) program which adopts the physical verification of the emissions of the vehicles. Moreover, this remote sensing technology can scan thousands of vehicle every day.

Also Read: Supreme Court directs authorities to start work on Delhi Metro Phase-IV project

The EPCA report had pinned the implementation of the program in the city by the Delhi government and recommended the Transport Department to publish a global tender for the procurement of this technology. Detailing the role of MoRTH, the report said it can frame rules regarding the usage of this technology for PUC, which includes penalties to enforce strict pollution norms.

The apex court was apprised on this technology during the hearing of matter connected with rising levels of air pollution in the city.

With inputs from IANS

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