Supreme Court suggests 2 days lockdown to tackle Delhi’s pollution
Delhi – Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital has reached alarming levels. Supreme Court has suggested the Delhi government and the Centre, asking for details in the direction, that whether a two days lockdown would help in preventing further deterioration of the situation. Calling the current situation in Delhi – NCR an “emergency”, the apex court asked the government to take immediate emergency measures to control the situation.
“Some percentage of contribution is stubble burning, rest is pollution in Delhi, particularly crackers, industries, dust, etc. You tell us how to control immediately… Two days’ lockdown or something? Otherwise, how will people live,” Chief Justice N V Ramana, heading a three-judge bench, told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in a plea hearing against air pollution.
When Solicitor General said that stubble burning is a prime cause of pollution in Delhi, the bench, also comprising of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant, said, “Everybody has the passion of blaming farmers. Have you seen how crackers are being burnt in Delhi for the last seven days? It is an emergency situation, multiple measures are needed to be taken on the ground level.” Justice Chandrachud said that with stubble burning by farmers, the problem is of incentivization. He said that if farmers are given some incentive from stopping the crop burning, why would they continue to do so.
Justice Surya Kant said that farmers can’t afford expensive machines that the government is making available through custom hiring centers for crop residue management, as mentioned by Mr. Mehta. Mehta added that marginal farmers would be provided with these machines free of cost. Justice Chandrachud said, “The farmer is under compulsion to prepare the land for the next crop. Therefore, whatever mechanism you are creating, the agencies must reach out to the farmer within those many days. The monsoon was late this time. Farmers are in anxiety to plant for the Kharif crop. So the window for the farmer is less.”
Justice Chandrachud said that as children are returning to schools this season, poor air quality is exposing them to pandemics, dengue, and pollution. The air quality level in Delhi fell to near emergency levels on Friday. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) recorded an AQI of 471. On Thursday it was 411.
The court has adjourned matter till November 15 and directed the counsel to put emergency measures in place.