On Tuesday, the Supreme Court expressed concern over the increasing air pollution in Delhi saying it was a “very serious problem” and solutions need to be found urgently.
A bench of Justice M.B. Lokur and Justice P.C. Pant said that some victims of air pollution suffer due to inefficient systems and non-implementation of norms. “This pollution problem is very serious. If you talk for years for a solution, then it is a problem,” said the bench after it was told by amicus curiae and senior advocate Harish Salve that there was a need to ensure 100 per cent compliance of Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificates and linking them with the insurance of vehicles done every year.
The bench asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Central government, to specify the number of PUC centres in Delhi, and was told that there are 962 such centres in the capital with each of them inspecting around 5,000 vehicles every three months. Show cause notices have also been issued to some 174 centres for irregularities and licences of 14 centres have been cancelled, he said, adding that licences of 75 centres have been suspended and warning notices issued to 78 such centres, Kumar told the bench.
Hearing this, the court asked the Central government to file a status report regarding show cause notices issued to PUC centres. It also directed the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to inspect all 962 PUC centers and submit the report about their functioning. After the bench was informed that consultations among all stakeholders is being done regarding banning of petcoke and furnace oil as industrial fuel in Delhi-NCR region, it asked the government to file the status report in this regard before the next date of hearing on February 6. The bench also sought from Centre an Action Taken Report on setting up of real time Air Quality Monitoring Centres in Delhi-NCR region in compliance with its earlier order.