Sun, 20 Sep 2020

New Delhi [India], Aug 10 (ANI) The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea to reconsider its earlier decision of setting up of smog tower in Delhi to deal with or control the air pollution in the national capital.

Senior advocate Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for a petitioner against installation of smog towers, submitted before the court that it will lead to money for Chinese companies and that it has no scientific basis.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, rejecting the plea and said that "the prayer is meritless. We are not recalling our orders. Dismissed."During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the central government informed the Supreme Court that work for setting up of the tower has started. Mehta said that a joint affidavit has been filed by the Centre and the Central Pollution Control Board.

"On August 8, site survey work was over. Collection of soil samples is underway and geo-technical investigation is going on for the circle design... this is because it needs a structural stability. We are on the process of appointing an architect to make site drawing, etc," Mehta said.

Mehta said that IIT Bombay and TATA projects have also tied up with University of Minnesota as it is a patent protected innovation and the University has agreed to share the technology. "University of Minnesota will also release the supply schedule," he said.

The apex court, which was hearing matters rising out of a PIL filed by environmentalist MC Mehta in 1985 on the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR, then posted the matter for further hearing on Tuesday as it did not have a copy of the affidavit by the central government.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government submitted that it is facing financial problem due to COVID-19 and not in a position to provide subsides to farmer to purchase machinaries to deal with stubble burning problem.

The court directed Delhi Chief Secretary to file affidavit on the present status of 13 pollution hotspots in the city and steps taken to control the pollution level.

"What steps have been taken. We wanted affidavit on all issues, not just stubble burning... We want involvement of center on formulation of rules/law to prevent and confiscate vehicles running on kerosene," the bench asked.

The top court observed that Kerosene run vehicles cannot ply on roads. "It's a sinister thing. These vehicles should be confiscated. If it's allowed things will never approve," it added asking the Centre, Delhi government and Environment Pollution (PreventionControl) Authority to file report on air pollution aspect.

The Delhi government also told the court that action plans have been created for all the pollution hotspots in the national capital, to which Justice Mishra said that they have seen some hotspots have reduced in size but pollution not reduced in entirety.

"We have taken several steps to reduce traffic congestion, open waste etc. District commissioners made individually responsible. Right now due to lockdown air pollution is down, AQI is at 100. But we will continue taking action in the coming days," Delhi Chief Secretary told the court. (ANI)

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