New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Thursday rapped the Delhi government for not installing air filters in government schools during the recent thick smog which had engulfed the national capital for almost 10 days.
"We had specifically asked you to install air filters in the schools for children. Why didn't you do it? You cannot provide fresh air to the children, at least install air filters in government schools," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
The green panel also refused to pass any direction on giving free masks to the school-going children and senior citizens to protect them from pollution and said it was for the state government to decide.
"How can a mask protect somebody when the pollution level is 20 times higher than the prescribed limits. The person will get choked himself and he would not be able to breathe.
"If the government takes a decision and give free masks, let them do it. We are not going to pass any order on that. The intention should be to free the air from pollution and make it breathable. This mask business should come to an end. All other philosophies, we are not interested," the bench said.
The NGT's observation came while it heard a plea filed by lawyer Vardhman Kaushik seeking directions to provide free masks to the school-going children.
He had contended that Delhi'ites were increasingly being exposed to high air pollution and the most affected section was the young boys and girls in schools.
Kaushik had argued in his plea that since Delhi government has failed to implement and execute the orders of the green panel on air pollution, as a punitive measure it should provide free masks.
He had also sought penalty on authorities for not complying with the orders of the Tribunal to curb air pollution and posing grave danger to the lives of the citizens specially the younger generation.