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'You cannot fire bullets from our shoulders': SC raps Delhi govt over rising air pollution levels

Schools in the national capital reopened once again from Monday (November 29) for all classes. The government had shut all schools in the city earlier in November due to a spike in air pollution levels.

India TV News Desk Edited by: India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: December 02, 2021 12:50 IST
'You cannot fire bullets from our shoulders': SC raps Delhi
Image Source : PTI (FILE)

'You cannot fire bullets from our shoulders': SC raps Delhi govt over rising air pollution levels

Highlights

  • AQI in Delhi-NCR remained in the 'very poor' or 'severe' category in November
  • Schools in the national capital reopened once again from Monday for all classes
  • Delhi govt has extended the ban on the entry of trucks till December 7

The Supreme Court on Thursday rapped the Arvind Kejriwal government for opening the schools amid rising air pollution levels in Delhi. The court asked when the government has implemented work from home for adults then why children are being forced to go to school. 

A special bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said the Aam Aadmi Party government had made various assurances such as work from home, lockdown, and closure of schools and colleges in the previous hearings. However, despite these assurances, the children were are going to school while elders are working from home. Schools in the national capital reopened once again from Monday (November 29) for all classes. The government had shut all schools in the city earlier in November due to a spike in air pollution levels.

"Poor young boys standing in the middle of the road with banners, who is taking care of their health? Again, we've to say, other than the popularity slogan, what else is it?" the bench also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant said.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Delhi government, referred to the affidavit and said the government had taken various measures. "This is another cause of pollution, so many affidavits daily," the bench then remarked. 

"Is it disclosed in the affidavit how many of these young boys are on the road? For publicity? A young boy standing in the middle of the road with a banner in hand. What is this? Someone has to take care of their health," the bench quipped. In response, Singhvi said the "boys" were civil volunteers.  

"We are serious about industrial and vehicular pollution. You cannot fire bullets from our shoulders, you have to take steps. Why are schools open?" the bench said.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had initiated the 'Red Light On, Gaadi Off' campaign from October 21 to November 15, saying that even if 10 lakh vehicles in the city joined the campaign, the PM10 levels would fall by 1.5 tonnes and PM2.5 by 0.4 tonnes in a year. Under the initiative, government officials from the transport department, volunteers and traffic police urge commuters to switch off their vehicles while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. The government then extended the campaign till November 30.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre, submitted that industries found non-compliant were closed and state governments were intimated. "Things are going on at jet speed and officers are working round the clock," he said.

The apex court said that if the Centre and Delhi government fail to take measures to control pollution, then the court will pass an order. "We feel there is nothing happening, in spite of air pollution levels rising," the court observed.

The court gave a 24 hours deadline to the Centre and Delhi government to come up with a serious plan for implementation of air pollution control measures.

READ MORE: Air pollution: Ban on construction, demolition activities extended in Delhi

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