The Supreme Court has slammed the authorities for failing to curb air pollution, especially in Delhi where the air quality index has been consistently poor or in the severe range post Diwali. The apex court though made an exception when it came to construction activity for the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) at the Pragati Maidan, where the Trade Fair draws huge crowds.
Earlier this week during the hearing on air pollution matter, the apex court termed Delhi "worse than hell" in the backdrop of pollution (air, water and garbage) in the city.
At the end of the hearing, the Centre requested a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra to allow limited construction activity at the ITPO, to make the area ready for exhibition.
The Centre assured that no pollution shall be permitted to be caused by the activity, following which the top court permitted the one-of request with certain riders.
This direction is in sharp contrast to the principled position taken by the apex court, where it ordered zero-tolerance to any activity contributing to air pollution.
The Centre told the apex court: "There is only some work of seven days left to enable holding of these events, such as housekeeping and cleaning the halls, preparation of access ways from Bhairon Road, strengthening and compacting at Hall No. 5, compaction of approach road for movement of cargo trucks and fire tenders from Gate No. 5 to Hall A3-A5, laying of temporary electrical services and water supply lines etc."
The court during the hearing had earlier noted: "The reports and the scientific data indicating that large section of people are suffering from the dreaded diseases due to such air pollution such as Cancer, Asthma and various other diseases. Life span is adversely affected."
The court emphasized the states have redrawn its focus to recognise right to life is important right.
"Human life and health have been put in danger. In such scenario, why they should not be required to pay compensation to such persons who are being affected by inadequate arrangement to check the air pollution, non-lifting of garbage, waste which add ultimately to the pollution", said the court.
However, now it has allowed the construction activity at ITPO.
The apex court has also asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to submit a report regarding lifting the restriction of the other construction activity.
"Let the report be submitted by the CPCB. Then we will take a call whether we have to relax the restrictions that have been imposed. List after 10 days," said the court.
The absence of any construction activity in Delhi, many daily-wagers have been left in lurch, and potentially having to scamper for funds during the peak winter season.