The Centre government's Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas has been shut down within five months of its constitution. The commission, established by the Centre in October last year, has shut down due to lapsing of the ordinance under which it was set up.
Speaking to PTI, Union Environment Secretary R P Gupta said the since the ordinance was not introduced in Parliament within six weeks of its convention, it has lapsed and consequently, the commission also stands shut.
"The ordinance never became an Act. Any ordinance has to be introduced within six weeks of convening of Parliament. It did not happen so the ordinance is lapsed, hence the commission is dissolved," Gupta said.
The commission was headed by M M Kutty, former secretary to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Official sources from the ministry said they will try to introduce the ordinance in the next session of Parliament and in the meantime, the state pollution control board and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be the supervising authorities.
Faced with rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Centre had introduced the ordinance that put in place the commission and provided for up to five years of jail term and Rs one crore fine for violators with immediate effect.
Under the ordinance released by the Ministry of Law and Justice on October 28, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) was dissolved and replaced by the commission.
The 20-member commission was set up under the ordinance, which was signed by the president on October 28, to ensure strict compliance.
The commission had the power to lay down parameters of air quality, parameters of discharge of environmental pollutants, inspect premises violating the law, ordering closure of non-abiding industries/plants, etc.
"The ordinance may be called the Commission for Air Quality Management In National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020. It shall apply to national capital region and also adjoining areas in so far as it relates to matters concerning air pollution in the NCR. It shall come into force at once," the ordinance had said.
As per the ordinance, the areas where it was in force included Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, adjoining areas of the NCR and Delhi where any source of pollution was located.
The commission had the power to restrict any industry, operations or processes or class of industries that could have implications on air quality in the region.