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Delhi HC wants action plan to tackle polluted air in city & courts

The Delhi high court on Friday asked the central government to produce an action plan to deal with polluted air in the national capital.

A division bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also asked the Delhi government, the Public Works Department, the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to state the number of trees cut and the number of trees replanted in various areas of the city.

Besides, the court asked the Delhi government to file an affidavit indicating the total forest area in Delhi.

On the air pollution inside the court building, the registrar general filed a status report, which said a survey carried out on April 21 indicated the air quality inside the court building was “beyond safety levels”.

The high court’s corridor and court room number 2, where the matter is being heard, showed the worst air quality, said the report.

The corridor and court room number 2 showed high levels of Particulate Matter (PM), which was due to the poor ambient air quality outside the court premises, it added.

The court directed the central government to produce an action plan to deal with polluted air in the city.

The bench said it will pass the order on the issue on May 15.

During the hearing, the bench also rapped bureaucrats on the way they work. The court said it passes order but bureaucrats are not concerned over air pollution here.

The court’s remark came after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said he will communicate to the government the agenda of topics to be discussed with regards to an action plan for Delhi and the National Capital Region. The meeting will be held between the Centre and representatives of neighbouring states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

After hearing Jain’s submission, the court said: “It is not your job to give agenda to the government, it is neither our job. It is the job of bureaucrats. They are getting money for it. Why are we only concerned about air pollution? Aren’t they concerned about it? No matter which government comes, they are not moved by anything. Something radical has to be done.”

The court has taken suo motu cognizance of the issue after a report said Delhi was the most polluted city in the world.

Air in Delhi is the most polluted in the world, according to the World Health Organization. The report contained results of outdoor air pollution monitored in almost 1,600 cities in 91 countries.

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