Delhi air pollution: NGT seeks fresh report from Commission for Air Quality Management

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a fresh “comprehensive report” from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on the air pollution in Delhi-NCR and said it should not be dependent on other agencies as it has vast powers.

The NGT was hearing a matter where it had taken suo-motu (on its own) cognisance of a newspaper report regarding the worsening air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

A bench of NGT Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava noted that earlier, the tribunal had directed the CAQM to revise its action report in terms of “a specific plan covering all the districts (of Delhi-NCR), with quantified targets”.

The commission filed a report dated January 2 in a tabulated form, listing the action points for controlling air pollution, its targeted time-line and the nodal implementing agency, the bench, also comprising judicial members Justices Sudhir Agarwal and Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Afroz Ahmad, said in an order passed last week.

The bench also took note of the submissions of the commission’s counsel about different implementing agencies, such as the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana governments, their departments and police forces, being responsible for implementing the plan to curb air pollution.

It said the CAQM’s report revealed that it “shifted the responsibility on different agencies, without having due regard to the powers which have been conferred upon the commission”.

The bench noted that the CAQM was formed under the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act in 2021.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the argument about the responsibility of other agencies, the green panel said the commission has “very wide powers and it is not solely dependent upon the different agencies for taking action to achieve the object of the Act”.

The tribunal then asked the CAQM to submit a report disclosing the exercise of its power till date.

“Let a comprehensive report, keeping in view the above observations, be filed within four weeks,” it said.

The matter has been listed on January 23 for further proceedings.

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