The tribunal refused to grant any exemption to women, asking the Delhi government why they could not run special ladies’ buses instead during the odd-even period.
Passing a slew of other directions, NGT directed that 10-year-old diesel vehicles should be seized from the roads immediately
Lambasting the city government, an NGT bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “When reports have stated that two-wheelers are more polluting than four-wheelers, why do you intend to give arbitrary exemptions? Is this a joke? What does one stand to gain from this?”The tribunal also refused to grant any exemption to women, asking the Delhi government why they could not run special ladies’ buses instead during the odd-even period. “Are you (Delhi government) not responsible for safety of ladies who do not have cars and travel by Metro and buses on a daily basis? Why can’t you have special ladies’ buses?” the bench asked.
Withdrawing the initial petition after the NGT asked the Delhi government to come up with “more logical explanations”, the government filed a fresh petition late on Tuesday evening asking the tribunal to direct neighbouring states to implement the odd-even scheme while still seeking exemptions for women and two-wheelers on the grounds that the city did not have sufficient buses.
The fresh petition, similar to the previous one, states that the government would add 2,000 more buses to accommodate the extra load of women and two-wheelers. But this would require a year’s time, it said, and reiterated its earlier plea asking for exemptions for women and two-wheelers for one year, or till the 2,000 buses are engaged.
Passing a slew of other directions, the bench directed that 10-year-old diesel vehicles should be seized from the roads immediately as such vehicles were still found to be still running despite court orders.
The NGT asked Delhi government to identify the city’s most polluted areas by 4pm on Tuesday and to sprinkle water from high rise buildings to settle dust and pollutants there. It also lifted the earlier prohibitory order on non-polluting industries and those involved in essential services and eatables.
“We direct NCT Delhi, all corporations and the PCBs to identify by 4pm today the area which is highly polluted in Delhi and ensure sprinkling of water by using appropriate equipment, and if possible even through the helicopter to bring down particulate matter. The values of that area should be recorded by the boards and IIT Delhi prior and four-six hours thereafter,” the bench said.
The NGT also permitted construction work at the eastern peripheral expressway in NCR, subject to an assurance by the senior-most National Highway Authority of India officer that no dust pollution or emissions would be caused.
Taking note of CPCB data, it said PM 10 values were crossing 1,000 micrograms per cubic metre at certain locations, while PM 2.5 levels were between 594 and 802 micrograms, asking the Delhi government to sprinkle water through high rise buildings and use fire brigades as well.
“The ladders on these fire brigades can go up to a good height, so use them. However, don’t waste water by spraying it on trees,” said the bench.