The central government has brought in a new law via ordinance to tackle the problem of pollution in Delhi-NCR. After receiving the approval from President Ram Nath Kovind, the ordinance will come into force with immediate effect. Those flouting the laid out norms to contain pollution problem in the region will now have to pay up to Rs 1 crore fine or up to five years jail or both.
"It is deemed fit to set-up a commission for air quality management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas," says the Ordinance.
Under the new law, a 20-member committee will be formed to implement strict measures against pollution control. The panel will coordinate with states and identify problem areas besides conducting research on finding solutions regarding the problem of poor air quality in the Delhi-NR region.
"It is necessary to provide for a consolidated and conjoint approach in monitoring, tacking and researching in air pollution and specifically monitoring the measures which have been directed by the relevant states and the central government to prevent factors causing air pollution, including stubble burning, industrial emissions, road dust, vehicular pollution, construction activities, biomass burning and other major sources," the ordinance state.
The committee will be given powers to issue orders suo moto and to look into complaints filed under the existing pollution laws, including the Air (Prevention and Control Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
The panel, however, has not been given powers to take action against activities that are likely to cause pollution in the region.
The ordinance will be called the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020. It'll apply to the NCR and adjoining areas on matters pertaining to air pollution only.
Its powers and duties will not be in derogation of the powers, functions and duties of the Centre and states and the Pollution Control Committee of Delhi.
In case of conflict in orders or directions of the panel and states or pollution control boards, the order of the commission will prevail, states the ordinance. The full-time chairman and full-time members of the commission will be appointed by the Centre.
Like every year, Delhi is experiencing the worst-of-its-kind air pollution these days. The national capital's overall air quality inched closer to the ''severe'' category on Thursday morning. The city recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 392 at 10 am. The 24-hour average AQI was 297 on Wednesday, 312 on Tuesday, 353 on Monday, 349 on Sunday, 345 on Saturday and 366 on Friday.
In the wake of rising pollution levels, the Delhi government will launch an anti-firecracker campaign from November 3 and request people not to burn crackers.