New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Centre and states for a continuous “blame game” on the issue of water and air pollution in Delhi and asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to file a detailed report on the adverse impact on the environment of the factories running in the national capital.
Fuming over the Air Quality Index (AQI) situation in Delhi and the surrounding national capital region, Justice Arun Misra said, “Delhi is worse than hell. Life is not so cheap in India and you will have to pay. You have no right to be in chair. How many lakhs each person should be paid? How much do you value a person’s life?”
Taking suo motu cognisance on the matter, the apex court directed the CPCB to file the details on the nature of the factories operating in Delhi. The top court also took a serious note on the stubble burning situation in Punjab despite its orders prohibiting it.
The top court bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra quizzed the Punjab Chief Secretary over the pollution situation. “How can you treat people like this and let them die? Tell us why the stubble burning has increased after our order. Why are you not able to check stubble burning? Is this not a failure,” he asked.
“Mr Chief Secretary, we’ll hold every machinery in the state responsible. You can’t let people die like this. Delhi is near suffocating,” Justice Mishra said and asserted, “Because you aren’t able to implement measures, doesn’t mean people in Delhi-NCR should die and suffer from Cancer.”
The SC noted that the Haryana government had done a better job at controlling the pollution levels in the past, but has failed to do the same this time. The court further blamed the two states for repeated negligence over the stubble burning situation that has caused the toxic pollution blanket over the capital city.
The SC also held Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for the Centre’s lackadaisical attitude towards the pollution situation.
“Why are people being forced to live in gas chambers? It is better to kill them all in one go, get explosives in 15 bags at one go. Why should people suffer all this? In Delhi blame game is going on, I am literally shocked,” the top court told Mehta.
The air quality in Delhi NCR improved slightly as per reports on Saturday after a slight increase in wind speed. From reaching the ‘severe plus’ category with an AQI of over 999, the city is now living under the “very poor” category with AQI around 300.
The apex court has asked the Centre and state governments to set aside differences and present a final plan within 10 days for setting up air-purifying towers in different parts of the city.