The Supreme Court today instructed the federal government to prioritize an emergency plan over long-term solutions, citing Chief Justice NV Ramana’s statement, “You see how awful the situation is….even in our houses, we are wearing masks.”
The Chief Justice, in requesting a statement from the centre and states by Monday, said: “Tell us how you intend to deal with the emergency situation. Is it really a two-day lockdown? What’s your strategy for lowering the AQI (Air Quality Index)? “,.
The court has been informed that an emergency conference between the centre and the states will take place later today.
The state government admitted in court that breathing Delhi air is “like smoking 20 cigarettes a day,” stressing, “We concur to the gravity of the matter.” On Friday, the national capital saw the worst air quality of the season, prompting the central pollution authority to warn residents to stay indoors.
The central government had previously told the court, putting the onus on Punjab, that actions are being done to stop stubble burning, which is a big contributor to the rise in air pollution “We are taking steps to prevent the burning of stubble. However, the kind of pollution we’ve witnessed in the previous five or six days is due to Punjabi stubble burning. The state government must get its act together…”
The Chief Justice responded by saying, “Why are you implying that farmers are to blame for pollution? It is merely a small portion of pollution. What about the rest of the group? What steps are you taking to reduce pollution in Delhi? You should tell us what your appropriate plan is…not 2-3 days.”
“It is now fashionable for everyone to criticize farmers. You have banned firecrackers, but what about the events of the last 5-6 days? “Surya Kant, a Supreme Court judge, stated.
However, the center’s Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, later emphasized, “We’re not implying that it’s only farmers that are affected. We never said anything like that.
Meanwhile. the government has directed the Delhi Metro and Transport Department to boost metro and bus frequency, according to the Delhi environment minister, and applying the “odd-even” scheme is the final resort. Rai further stated that a joint emergency meeting between the Delhi administration and the Centre is necessary, for which they have written a new letter.