- SC agreed to list for hearing a PIL seeking issuance of fresh guidelines on stubble burning
- The matter is related to curb the rising air pollution level in Delhi NCR
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced that primary schools will be closed from Saturday
Delhi air pollution: The Supreme Court today agreed to list for hearing on November 10 (Thursday) a PIL seeking the issuance of fresh guidelines on stubble burning to curb rising air pollution in Delhi and the national capital region (NCR).
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Bela M Trivedi took note of the submissions of lawyer Shashank Shekhar Jha, who has filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in his personal capacity, that the air pollution situation has worsened due to stubble burning in areas close to Delhi.
"Even normal people cannot walk in such a situation,” the lawyer said, adding that “Air Quality Index (AQI) level has risen due to stubble burning.”
“List it on November 10,” the CJI said on Friday (November 4).
The plea sought direction to summon Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and directed them to personally take responsibility for no case of stubble-burning anywhere. It sought direction for issuing fresh guidelines to all the States with respect to stubble burning. The plea asked to issue guidelines to each and every State to take necessary measures in order to reduce pollution including the installation of smog towers, plantation drives, affordable public transport, etc.
"Public at large is forced to inhale polluted air and the oxygen filled with smog. Despite the clear orders of this Court to stop stubble burning and construction causing air pollution, there is rampant pollution in the National Capital Territory and other places making it difficult for people to survive," said the plea adding that the situation is directly against the Right to life of people at large.
The petition said the AQI level on November 3 has been between 440 to 460 across Delhi which as per various sources "affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing diseases".An AQI of 400 or higher is considered "severe," and it can affect both healthy people and those who already have illnesses, it said.
It sought direction for appointing a high-level committee under the chairmanship of a retired Supreme Court judge to tackle the air-pollution crisis due to stubble burning. The plea further urged that the schools, colleges, government and private offices to go virtual/online in order to protect the life of people at large. The advocate said that the pollution is caused because states like Punjab have failed to provide an alternative to the farmers against stubble burning.to control pollution.
Delhi primary schools shut:
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that primary schools will be closed from Saturday (November 5) in view of spike in pollution levels in the national capital. He noted that deteriorating air quality and pollution levels were a problem of the entire north India and the Centre should take steps to address it.
"This is not the time for blame game and politics, but time to find a solution to the problem. Blaming Kejriwal or the Punjab government won't help," he asserted. The city continued to reel under the eye-stinging pollution with air quality recorded in the ''severe'' category even on Friday.
Kejriwal announced that from Saturday onwards, classes up to the fifth standard will be closed and outdoor activities for classes above the fifth standard will be suspended.
"We are also mulling over implementing odd-even scheme for plying of vehicles," he said.
The chief minister was joined by his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann. Kejriwal accepted that the stubble burning happening in Punjab was his party's responsibility since its government is there.
(With agencies inputs)