Impose 2-day lockdown: CJI Ramana

New Delhi : Hearing a plea on Air Pollution, the Supreme Court on Saturday pulled up the Centre and the state governments. Chief Justice of India N V Ramana-led Supreme Court bench asked if emergency measures like lockdown for a few days can be imposed to tackle the rising AQI levels.

“Tell us how we can reduce AQI from 500 at least by 200 points. Take some urgent measures. Can you think of two days lockdown or something? How can people live? Air quality in Delhi is in the ‘severe’ category and in another 2 to 3 days it will dip further. Take an emergency decision. We will look at a long term solution later,” CJI Ramana told the Centre.

The apex court also stated that the air quality has degraded so much that even at one’s own residence, one has to wear a mask. “You see how bad the situation is….even in our houses, we are wearing masks,” the CJI said, according to Bar and Bench.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued, “Everyone is fighting their own battle- state, Centre, agencies. We have filed short summary of steps taken by everyone.”

On the problem of stubble burning, Tushar Mehta claimed that five steps have been taken.

“Two lakh machines [have been made] available for decomposing the stubble for in situ crop stubble management. There are avenues that the statutory commission has opened for using up the stubble in biomass plants etc. There is complete prohibition on burning,” Tushar Mehta said.

Tushar Mehta targeted Punjab government sand said, “There’s a spurt from Punjab in the last few days. State of Punjab needs to buckle up and do something.”

To this, CJI Ramana said, “You’re projecting as if farmers alone are responsible. But that is 40 per cent. Where are the steps to ensure Delhi people are controlled? What about firecrackers? Vehicle pollution?” The Supreme Court also observed that it has become fashion to bash farmers, whether it’s Delhi govt or someone else.

The court asked about the immediate measures taken to control air pollution in Delhi and suggested imposing a two-day lockdown in the city.

The Bench also questioned Delhi government about its decision to install smog towers and emission control projects. “You have opened all schools in the national capital and now children are exposed to pollutants. This is not the Centre’s but your jurisdiction. What is happening on that front?,” the bench asked Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government.

“Little children have to go to school in this weather, we are exposing them to this. Dr Guleria (AIIMS) said we are exposing them to pollution, pandemic and dengue.

The top court also told the Central government that it needs to look at this issue beyond politics and government. “Something must happen so that in two to three days we feel better.”

Amid this Tushar Mehta told the Centre that today’s meeting will have to focus on the emergency situation of air pollution.

The court posted the matter for next hearing on November 15.

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