Air pollution: Why construction not stopped in Delhi, asks NGT

Air pollution: Why construction not stopped in Delhi, asks NGT
Air pollution: Why construction not stopped in Delhi, asks NGT

The National Green Tribunal today lashed out at the Delhi government and the Central Pollution Control Board for not issuing orders to shut down construction and industrial activities in the capital despite the worsening air quality.

It also ordered Punjab, UP and Haryana governments to spell out the steps have they taken to prevent crop burning in the states adjacent to the national capital.

The green panel directed the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to collect ambient air quality samples from different parts of the city and submit an analysis containing details of different pollutants, including particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and 10.

Making scathing remarks, it asked the Delhi authorities to explain why steps were not taken to stop construction and industrial activities causing emission in the entire national capital.

“Why don’t you pass directions to stop construction and industrial activities for a month? What are you waiting for? Are courts your local guardians? What are you doing to the children? Old people are not able to walk,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The tribunal also said that while people have been asked not to venture out much, “have any of the pollution monitoring bodies tested the ambient air quality indoors?”

Advocate Naginder Benipal, appearing for the Punjab Pollution Control Board, alleged that several illegal industries were operating in Delhi which were the major sources of pollution.

He said that despite repeated orders from the Supreme Court and the NGT, the Delhi government has not implemented the direction and a detailed status report should be submitted to the green panel.

As the national capital reeled under heavy smog, the NGT had yesterday asked the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to explain why preventive steps were not taken to control the ‘severe’ air quality in the region.

The national capital is experiencing ‘severe’ air quality under a blanket of thick haze, as pollution levels have breached the permissible standards by multiple times.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recorded ‘severe’ air quality, meaning that the intensity of pollution was extreme.

The tribunal was hearing a plea for immediate action against the worsening air quality in Delhi-NCR stating that it was an ‘environmental emergency’ that was affecting children and senior citizens the most.

The plea said that according to a CPCB report, post Diwali, the ambient air quality of Delhi on October 17, 18 and 19 was found to be “very poor”, adding that despite elaborate orders from NGT last year, the authorities have slept over it.

Highlighting the increasing number of cars in the city, the plea filed by environment activist said it was “imperative that the government should take a view” with regards to putting a cap on vehicles to reduce air pollution.

The plea has also sought direction to Delhi and the neighbouring states to file a status report with regard to the steps taken to educate people regarding waste burning and the pollution caused by it.

( Source – PTI )

Court takes cognisance of defamation case against ex-Delhi Min

Court takes cognisance of defamation case against ex-Delhi Min
Court takes cognisance of defamation case against ex-Delhi Min

A Delhi court today took cognisance of a criminal defamation complaint filed by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain against sacked minister Kapil Mishra for allegedly defaming him by levelling graft charges against him.

Metropolitan Magistrate Shefali Barnala Tandon listed the matter for July 14 for recording pre-summoning evidence in support of complaint of Jain, who was present in the court.

Advocate Gautam Dhamija, appearing for Jain, argued that Mishra had made defamatory statements before the national media.

The counsel alleged that Mishra used his official Twitter handle also to defame Jain and instead of going to any probe agency, he had levelled the allegations before the media to defame the Health Minister.

The court also heard arguments on another defamation complaint by Jain against BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa for alleging that the minister was indulging in circulating huge amounts of illegitimate money within the party.

The court listed the complaint against Sirsa for consideration on June three.

Jain has also accused a media house for publishing the alleged “libellous and slanderous statements” made by Sirsa.

The counsel argued that these allegations were made in front of the national media but only one newspaper published it which shows they were hand in glove with each other.

Jain had on May 19 filed two criminal defamation complaints against Mishra and Sirsa for allegedly defaming him by levelling graft charges against him.

If convicted, the offence of defamation entails a maximum punishment of two years.

Jain in his complaint against Mishra, who was earlier heading the water department, submitted that on May 7, he had made a statement before the media accusing him of handing over bribe of Rs two crore to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May five.

He said his family members and a lot of people from his constituency had questioned him about the incident which had caused irreparable damage to his reputation.

Regarding Sirsa, Jain said that on May 9, the MLA made libellous statements by levelling corruption allegation against him. He said that making a statement on the basis of “hearsay” without any proof or evidence supporting it, is not only unbecoming of an MLA, but also a crime of defaming a person.

( Source – PTI )

NGT asks Delhi govt to introduce destination buses from May 1

NGT asks Delhi govt to introduce destination buses from May 1
NGT asks Delhi govt to introduce destination buses from May 1

The National Green Tribunal today directed Delhi government to introduce destination buses from May 1, in a bid to help improve the air quality in the national capital.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the AAP government to run the point-to-point buses on an experimental basis from Dwarka, Rohini, Janakpuri, CGO complex and Badarpur border.

The green panel said these services will start from spots where it is convenient for the public at large.

The NGT said introduction of such bus services would facilitate an individual to opt for such a service, rather than driving a car alone on highly-congested roads.

“The NCT Delhi and traffic police will duly advertise about the introduction of destination buses from April 25 for informing the public,” the bench ordered and sought a status report within four weeks.

The green panel also directed the Delhi Transport Corporation to maintain these buses and engage their staff for cleaning and maintaining them.

The tribunal had earlier pulled up the Delhi government for not starting these point-to-point bus services till date despite its order. Destination buses are the ones which ply from one point to another without any halt in between.

The green panel had lambasted the Delhi government after its counsel submitted that there was shortage of buses. The panel had said “it is evident that large number of buses are standing along Yamuna at the depot. We see no reason why state authorities have not implemented our order so far.”

It also said that such point-to-point buses would result in reducing jams as a large number of people from places like Dwarka and Rohini come to offices in Central Delhi.

During an earlier hearing the NGT had said “the traffic on roads of Delhi needs to be reduced by taking various measures that have already been directed to be taken by various authorities, including introduction of destination buses which could certainly help particularly the middle class and single driver from opting for destination buses rather than driving a car individually on highly congested roads of Delhi.”

It had also asked the AAP government to encourage those using public transport by providing incentives to them.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC seeks poll panel reply on pleas against MCD election

Delhi HC seeks poll panel reply on pleas against MCD election
Delhi HC seeks poll panel reply on pleas against MCD election

The Delhi High Court today sought reply of the poll panel on pleas seeking to quash the notification laying down the manner of allocation of wards for reserved categories and women in the upcoming MCD polls.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Chander Shekhar issued notice to the Delhi State Election Commission and directed them to file their affidavit explaining the manner in which they have allotted the seats for the reserved category.

The matter has now been fixed for further hearing on March 16, the next date of hearing.

The bench was hearing pleas filed by NGOs challenging the poll panel’s February 6 notification, announcing the election for 272 wards of the three municipal corporations here.

The election are scheduled to be held in April.

Many social activist have also approached the high court seeking stalling of the MCD polls, which was declined by the bench today.

In its pleas, the NGOs said the Delhi Municipal Corporation (DMC) in 2011 was divided into three zone — North Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation and South Delhi Municipal Corporation.

The petitioners have sought quashing of the January 13 order with regard to delimitation of 272 wards with the composition of wards in each Assembly constituency.

It said while the number of wards in each of the three corporations 104 each in South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and 64 in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) has remained the same, the number of wards in a few assembly segments has changed, ranging from three to seven.

In 2012, ahead of the MCD elections, a notification was issued regarding allocation of wards amongst schedule caste, women and general category, the pleas stated.

Claiming that the present notification was contrary to the Constitution as well as Section 3 of the DMC Act, one of the plea demanded that it should be quashed and a fresh circular issued in accordance with the law.

It sought direction to identify and determine the municipal wards for the purpose of reservation for schedule caste, women and general category in terms of Article 243 of the Constitution.

The Article provides for reservation of seats for the schedule castes in the municipal area by rotation to different constituency in the municipality.

The pleas have alleged that the poll panel, government and others agencies have not made reservation to different constituencies in a municipality by rotation.

( Source – PTI )

Vintage Car Rally in Delhi allowed by green panel

Vintage Car Rally in Delhi allowed by green panel
Vintage Car Rally in Delhi allowed by green panel

In a breather to car aficionados, the National Green Tribunal today allowed the 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally by agreeing to make an exception to its order banning all vehicles older than 15 years from plying on Delhi roads.

A bench headed by NGT chief Justice Swatanter Kumar granted permission to organise the seventh edition of the rally in the national capital from February 17 to 19.

“We permit this rally as a one-time event from February 17 to 19,” the bench said.

75 vintage and classic cars from India, 15 cars and 25 bikes from all over the world are planned to be on display.

Exclusive ‘Maharaja’ cars are also scheduled to participate in the three-day event here.

The order came on a plea filed by Madan Mohan, founder trustee of the 21 Gun Salute Heritage and Cultural Trust and organiser of the auto show who proposes to hold the event to raise funds for spastic children.

The rally, with the theme of ‘Motivation is what keeps you going’, is scheduled to be flagged off from the historic Red Fort on February 17 and culminate at Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, followed by a ceremonial drive, the plea said.

“The application is being filed for clarification or exemption from the order of the NGT dated November 26, 2014 with regard to its applicability to vintage car rally for participation in the the seventh edition of ’21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally & Concours Show 2017′ to be held from February 17 to 19, 2017…

“It is pertinent to mention here that in the rallies held in the past, spastic and blind children have been associated and have also benefited from the same as they not only took part in the rally but also received part of the proceeds from the organisers of the rally. In the rally, spastic children and blind children will be associated,” the plea, filed through advocate P V Raghunandan, said.

The petition has sought exemption from the NGT’s November 26, 2014 order which had banned from Delhi roads cars which were over 15 years old, thus disqualifying vintage cars from participating in any rally.

The tribunal, on two earlier occasions, had allowed the 5th and 6th editions of the rally and relaxed the ban, saying “We make it clear that none of the vintage cars would be otherwise permitted on the roads of NCR, Delhi, nor any authority would issue fitness certificates to them without specific order of the tribunal.

( Source – PTI )

NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi

NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi
NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi

The National Green Tribunal today rapped the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) over “inaccurate” data on various kinds of waste generated in the national capital daily.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took strong exception over the data submitted by SDMC which said that Delhi generates nearly 10,000 tonnes municipal solid waste (MSW) per day besides other kinds of waste, which is processed at different plants.

The municipal corporation told the bench that apart from MSW, it also collects construction and debris (C&D) waste, flyash and silt from drains which is taken to waste-to-energy plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bawana for disposal.

However, when the bench enquired about the mechanism to segregate construction debris from solid waste, SDMC said it was being done by waste-to-energy plants at Ghazipur and Bawana and 3900 tonnes of C&D was separately taken there.

While noting that there was a difference in figures of collected C&D material and the quantity disposed of by three waste-to-energy plants, the green panel asked the corporation to clarify the issue by tomorrow.

“What is the use of submitting incorrect and false data.

You never realise your duty and that is why no problem is solved in the courts. Instead of giving clear figures, you always try to mislead the tribunal. How did you come to the figure you have submitted to us. We are not interested in your impressive reports,” the bench said.

The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow.

Concerned over delay in the operationalising the waste- to-energy plants in capital, the tribunal had earlier constituted a “high-powered team” to inspect the plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bawana.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of waste-to- energy plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution.

In its application, the association had also told NGT that as per observations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, mass burning technology should be stopped immediately.

( Source – PTI )

What’s quantity of waste generated by Delhi: NGT

What's quantity of waste generated by Delhi: NGT
What’s quantity of waste generated by Delhi: NGT

The National Green Tribunal today directed the Delhi government and civic bodies here to inform it about the total quantity of municipal solid waste generated in the national capital daily.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar expressed concern over functioning of waste-to-energy plants in the city and said the authorities should be first clear about the data before proceeding in the case.

“Tell us what is the total quantity of municipal solid waste generated by Delhi? The population has increased over these years but you are still submitting old data. Tell us tomorrow,” the bench said.

It also asked the waste-to-energy plants to plant a green cover around the sites so that the harmful air emanating from it gets trapped and does not enter residential areas.

Delhi Pollution Control Committee told the bench that Okhla plant was operating within stipulated norms and fly ash generated in it is used in manufacturing of bricks.

Concerned over delay in the operationalising the waste- to-energy plants in capital, the tribunal had earlier constituted a “high-powered team” to inspect the plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bawana.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of waste-to- energy plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution.

In its application, the association had also told NGT that as per observations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, mass burning technology should be stopped immediately.

( Source – PTI )

Agencies not doing work: Delhi HC on waterlogging

Agencies not doing work: Delhi HC on waterlogging
Agencies not doing work: Delhi HC on waterlogging

Lambasting the local bodies for not doing their work and passing the buck on each other, the Delhi High Court today said the severe waterlogging on the roads in the national capital was due to clogging of drains by plastics and other non-biodegradable materials.

“Each of the agency in the capital of Delhi do not do their work and, because of the multiplicity of the agencies, they pass the buck on each other,” a bench of justices B D Ahmed and Ashutosh Kumar said.

Their strident reaction came a day after another high court bench said “we cannot tolerate this year after year”, while commenting on the water-logging on major roads and crippling of traffic movement in large parts of Delhi.

The bench made the remarks today after it was told by the counsel for Public Works Department (PWD) that they were only responsible for 1226 kms of roads in the city, while three MCDs said they should not be blamed for the overflowing drains during rains, as it was the PWD’s responsibility also.

The court was hearing a PIL by Col (Rtd) B B Sharan who has sought direction for maintaining cleanliness in Delhi.

“The local bodies, including the Municipal Corporations of Delhi, New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Cantonment Board were asked to frame bye-laws incorporating the provisions of Plastic Waste Management Rules in exercise of powers conferred under the Environment (Protection) Act…

“In absence of setting up of the infrastructure for segregation, collection, storage, transportation, processing and disposal of plastic waste in Delhi, it would be difficult to stop clogging of drains. The non-biodegradable materials is the main reason for clogging of drains, which we can see from the recent waterlogging in Delhi,” the court said.

“It appears that the local bodies of Delhi are not serious. Therefore, we direct them to frame bye-laws and implement them as soon as possible,” it said.

( Source – PTI )

NGT stays demolition of religious structures near Birla temple

NGT stays demolition of religious structures near Birla temple
NGT stays demolition of religious structures near Birla temple

The National Green Tribunal has stayed for a week the demolition of illegal religious structures spread over 7.5 acres in the central Ridge area near the Birla temple in central Delhi.

A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi passed the order after Pracheen Mahamai and Bhairo Mandir Trust claimed right over the forest land and sought stay of the demolition order.

The NGT, after perusing the records, said there is no reference to “any land and or any right, title or interest in any immovable property” in the Trust Deed of Pracheen Mahamai and Bhairo Mandir Trust.

It, however, stayed its order for demolition of the structures to allow the Trust to present its case before the Supreme Court, which has already issued notices to the parties in the case.

“All other documents such as passbook, electricity bill, telephone bill, voter ID, aadhar card may at the best speak about the presence of the Trust at the address given therein and nothing more. No document evincing right, title or interest in any immovable property, much less the Central Ridge Forest Land, NCT of Delhi has been produced by the Mandir Trust,” the bench said.

The green panel had earlier directed the Ministry of Urban Development and Delhi government to demolish the illegal religious structures after the Ministry submitted that demarcation of the area where the illegal structures were to be demolished has been completed and two religious structures and a platform identified as encroachments.

The NGT order came on a contempt petition filed by K C Bhargava, who resides near the temple located on Mandir Marg in central Delhi, stating that the construction by the trust were in violation of a Supreme Court order prohibiting non- forest activity in 7.5 acres of land adjacent to the shrine.

The petition also submitted that the Ridge, the northern extension of Aravalli Range, has been notified as a reserved forest area as per the Delhi government’s May 24, 1994 notification by which any non-forest activity there, without permission of competent authority, is prohibited.

( Source – PTI )

Court acquits ex-MCD councillor, hubby in graft case

Court acquits ex-MCD councillor, hubby in graft case
Court acquits ex-MCD councillor, hubby in graft case

A former Congress MCD councillor and her husband have been acquitted by a special court of the alleged charge of demanding a bribe of over Rs 50,000 from a person to allow him construct a house here.

Special CBI Judge Sanjay Garg-I absolved Veena Saini, ex-councillor from East Nangloi constituency, and her husband Naresh Saini, saying the prosecution has failed to prove its case against them.

“Prosecution has failed to prove that accused no. 2 (Naresh) had demanded Rs 50,000 from the complainant for not demolishing the structure raised by him on his four plots,” the court said.

The court acquitted Naresh of charges under section 9 (taking gratification for exercise of personal influence with public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Veena under section 10 (punishment for abetment by public servant of offences defined in section 8 or 9) of the PC Act.

The couple were arrested by CBI in May 2007 and later granted bail by the court.

While Naresh was arrested first when he was allegedly accepting Rs 25,000 as the first installment of the bribe, the former councillor was picked up later.

According to the CBI, a resident of Nangloi in West Delhi had sent a complaint to the agency alleging that Saini and her husband were demanding Rs 51,600 from him as protection money.

The complainant had said both of them had threatened that they would use their influence with the MCD and government officials to harass him in constructing his house and using the sewerage connection, unless he paid up.

The complainant pleaded with Veena’s husband to accept the first installment of Rs 25,000 at his office.

It had alleged that initially, Rs one lakh was demanded, of which Rs 50,000 was for permitting construction on the plots and Rs 50,000 as sewer charges. The complainant was threatened that if he did not pay the bribe to Naresh, the sewer connection would be disrupted and the construction demolished.

Later, Naresh settled the amount at Rs 51,600 and agreed to obtain first installment of Rs 25,000 in his office.

During trial, the couple denied all allegations and claimed that being a woman Municipal councillor, several persons had political rivalry with her, for which they were implicated.

( Source – PTI )