President, Ram Nath Kovind has signed off on an ordinance to tackle air pollution and to monitor and improve air quality in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
The Ordinance to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR proposes to set up a permanent body to monitor air quality in the NCR comes just days after the Centre assured the Supreme Court that a draft law was under consideration by the Centre.
This order of Ordinance to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR was passed on October 16 and the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi were asked to render assistance to the committee. Bodies like the Environment Protection (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) and other bodies working on the issue of stubble burning and air pollution were also asked to provide all requisite support to this one man committee. This order was passed despite vehement objections by the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.
Based on this assurance, the top court had directed that its October 16 decision ordering formation of a one-man committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan B Lokur to deal with the issue, be kept in abeyance.
The executive order of Ordinance to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR was notified late last night that provides for setting up of a permanent commission for air quality management in Delhi-NCR for coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems concerning air quality.
The Ordinance to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR stipulates an eighteen-member commission called the “Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas” to be set up which will be headed by a Chairperson appointed by the central government.
The commission which will be headquartered at Delhi, will comprise representatives from the States of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The Ordinance to Tackle Air Pollution in Delhi-NCR will be empowered to issue directions to control air pollution and take cognizance of complaints. The commission will also have the authority to slap fines and will be responsible for laying down parameters to curb emissions and keep air quality under control.
Importantly, this commission will supersede all the other bodies and authorities formed through judicial orders or otherwise on the aspect of air quality management and this commission will have “exclusive jurisdiction” in this domain.
In case of any conflict between orders and directions passed by this commission and by State governments, the Commission’s orders will prevail, the ordinance says.
The Supreme Court while hearing a public interest litigation petition on the issue of stubble burning and consequent air pollution had directed setting up a one man committee of Justice (retd.) Madan B Lokur will monitor the instances of stubble burning.