The Supreme Court Monday allowed construction activity in the Delhi-NCR region between 6 am and 6 pm, partially lifting its complete ban on it.
The Central government today, through ASG ANS Nadkarni, informed SC that the Ministry of Environmeny and Forests has set up a high powered committee, which includes IIT expert, to look into technology regarding pollution management and feasibility of installing smog towers. It was also informed that the committee had already conducted a meeting and the next one will take place on December 11.
Upon being questioned by the bench, comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, about implementation of the technology regarding smoke towers and wireless technology, the ASG reminded them that the Centre was asked to set up a committee to review the technology, and it was incumbent upon the state governments of Delhi, UP, Punjab and Haryana to consider the manner in which smog towers etc were to be installed.
The court directed the committee to submit its report on technology to combat air pollution on December 13 and said the Principal Secretary, department of Environment, Delhi government is also to be a part of the committee.
The Bench then went on to note that stubble burning had indeed come down in the states, and sought data on the measures being taken by states to tackle the problems faced by farmers.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) then suggested to the court that the blanket ban on construction could be partially lifted. This suggestion was taken by the Bench, which went on to life the blanket ban and allowed construction activities to be restarted. This, however, is subject to conditions as construction will only be allowed during the day, and not at night. The court specified that such activities could be carried out between 6am to 6pm and there would strictly be no relaxation between 6pm to 6am. Further it was directed that construction activities would require measures regarding dust control as well as setting up of barriers. CPCB had filed its report, urging this partial lifting of the ban as air quality has now improved from 'severe' to 'poor'.
The Bench also asked the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to be present in court on the next date of hearing, which is December 13.