(31st March 2015 – Indian Express) Key Points : How could you allow your national capital to become such a global shame?
Popularly Known as “Delhi’s Green Judge” – Retired Justice Kuldip Singh
- Presided over number of PILs on environmental issues.
- passed crucial judgments on air pollution, including specifying norms for industries around the Taj Mahal.
Delhi frittered away from the benefits of the CNG ruling 0f 1998. What is responsible ?
- Particulate matter levels had seen a very clear dip after 1st generation reforms
- Post – 2005 there are more than 5 million registered & 1 million unregistered vehicles in Delhi.
- 55-60% of them run on diesel.
- Lots of small scale industries have come up.
Role of Judiciary in monitoring pollution control
- Need to sensitize judges on environmental protection laws.
- Can’t leave everything on one judge on the national Green Tribunal Panel
- Until 1990s – Biggest judgments to benefit the environment came from supreme court
- Moving hazardous industries & stone crushing units outside city.
- Monitoring the forest cover.
- Boundary be considered around ridge area.
- Court monitored the cleaning of Yamuna.
Post 2005 – Judiciary has not been much active.
- Participation of district court, high court, supreme court in environment protection is required.
- Government done nothing in previous 10-15 years
- Don’t need just development but sustainable development
- The present government should take up the issue seriously.
- Regulate the number of cars on road. (San Diego & Singapore have done it.)
- Regulate polluting industries, control the trucks entering delhi.
- Take up cleaning of Yamuna.
Art. Ref : Death by breath: ‘Judiciary hasn’t been as active, needs to step in,’ says Kuldip Singh – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/death-by-breath-judiciary-hasnt-been-as-active-needs-to-step-in-says-kuldip-singh/
M C Mehta – A lawyer behind PILs that led to key supreme court judgments on environmental issues
from the pollution plea that lead to the CNG verdict in 1998 to one on industries affecting the Taj Mahal that led to a series of new norms.
- Delhi’s air quality improved in 2000. situation deteriorated in last 3-4 years.
- In 2003, Delhi govt. received an award from US department of Energy for its “bold effort to curb air pollution & support alternative fuel initiatives.
- Fact : SC was behind the orders, Delhi govt. stiffly opposed it.
How could you allow your national capital to become such a global shame?
Action taken by Delhi & Central Govt. when several warnings were raised in court.
- Total lack of will
- Blamed other cities like Gurgaon & Noida
- Talk about lobbies
- In 1990s, when Supreme Court bench was moving to get 100 buses converted to CNG as a test case, 2 senior senior officials of joint secretary rank crated fuss about how CNG would explode like a bomb blast.
What should have government done :
- Create Expressways
- Govt. should have taken difficult decision to curb pollution.
What Now :
- Restrict number of vehicles
- Resolve problem of Trucks
- Check polluting industries, particularly coal.
- Bring two expressways planned around Delhi in 2004.
- Ensure the Metro expands further.
- Present governments to be sensitive to air pollution.
- Bring Back awareness among people.
Art. Ref. : Death by breath: ‘Big talk when in Opp, talk of lobbies when in power’: M C Mehta – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/death-by-breath-big-talk-when-in-opp-talk-of-lobbies-when-in-power/
Sheila Dikshit : Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 – 2013 (15 years)
Steps taken actually :
- several measures were chartered out to contain air pollution
- CNG for public transport following a supreme court verdict.
- A cess on diesel.
Previous Government’s Viewpoint w.r.t hurdles in checking air pollution via CM
- People couldn’t be stopped from buying cars.
- Tried to popularize Car Pooling – Ideas weren’t popular.
- There are various lobbies. Auto manufacturers feel that their growth is being stopped.
- Unless there’s a collective decision & the lobbies collective decision for the good of the people , nothing can be done.
A number of schemes after implementation of CNG was announced. They could not be enforced full fledged. Why ?
- Different ideas such as assigning odd and even numbers to cars, to restrict the number of cars on roads.
- Government traffic department & police come under the central government
- Traffic department should have will to do it.
Supreme court issued an order in 2005 on creating a peripheral routes to divert truck traffic not meant for Delhi. Not happened. why ?
- Lack of coordination between states
- States didn’t want to contribute to the construction of expressway.
- Delhi needs good to come in, since they don’t manufacture.
- Land acquisition was a huge problem
- Delhi has least land to provide.
A diesel cess of Rs. 0.25 per litre was a success. Why other measures failed ?
- Petrol pumps near the border had issues.
- Trader community feared that customers would stop coming if Connaught place was declared as a no-congestion zone.
- Similar issues were faced when a separate parking zones were proposed.
Art. Ref. : Death by breath: ‘You have to understand there are various lobbies,’ says Sheila Dikshit – http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/death-by-breath-you-have-to-understand-there-are-various-lobbies-says-sheila-dikshit/
Read the full article at the source : The Indian Express (Links provided).
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