New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday came down hard on Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, saying that the three state governments had done nothing to combat the emergency till Monday.
"When all this mess was going on, when PM 2.5 pollution went up above 1000, what steps did you take except doing meetings? Why could you not deploy helicopters to sprinkle water? It is shocking that you did not do anything for the first five days,” said the tribunal according to a report.
The NGT also said that no stone crushers or brick kiln would operate in the National Capital Region (NCR) for a week.
NGT also directed Delhi and 4 neighbouring states to give complete mechanism on implementation of its directions to curb air pollution.
Lawyers for all three state government admitted that they had not ‘fully read’ series of orders by the National Green Tribunal on combating pollution.
Proceeding to question Punjab and Haryana for burning paddy straw, the bench said, "Tell us one instance where you put out farm fires or provided machines for managing crop stubble."
Delhi has been covered with a thick fog of smoke for nearly a week, with people complaining of burning eyes, sore throats and other problems. The AAP state government has declared holiday for schools till Wednesday and all construction projects have been shut.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has asked residents to stay indoors as much as possible and work from home.
Kejriwal has declared Delhi a ‘gas chamber,’ primarily blaming crop-burning by farmers in neighbouring states like Haryana and Punjab for the smog.
On Monday, water sprinkling on streets began in the national capital in a bid to reduce pollution levels in the city.
The AAP government had also announced that it was considered restarting the odd-even car scheme in the city.
The Centre also held a meeting with environment ministers of neighbouring states on Monday to discuss measures to combat the crisis....