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| Last Updated:04/12/2018

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NGT expands ambit of air pollution case beyond Delhi

NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal, restrained by the Supreme Court from dealing with matters on air pollution in Delhi, today expanded the ambit of hearing by seeking responses on worsening air quality in metropolises like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.

Barring Delhi, the green panel took note of air pollution in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Patna, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Nagpur, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Pune and directed states to file a comprehensive affidavit stating the steps taken by them for prevention and control of air pollution.

"In view of the fact that the matter is pending before the Supreme Court of India ... in relation to matter relating to air pollution in NCT, Delhi, we are of the considered view that Tribunal should not pass any directions in this regard at this stage.

"Therefore we would restrict these petitions for the present only to the places other than Delhi, in relation to air pollution by different sources and subject to such orders as may be passed by the Supreme Court of India," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said, adding "we are not going to touch Delhi".

The green panel also directed the state pollution control boards in consultation with the Central Pollution Control Board to take ambient air quality samples in these cities and submit analysis report before February 9.

"They shall also state the steps they are taking for controlling and preventing the air pollution, resulting from dust emission because of constructions and other activities, emission from burning of Municipal Solid Waste and other waste including burning of agriculture residue and vehicular pollution," the bench said.

On December 18, the tribunal had refused to vacate its order banning registration of new diesel-run vehicles, saying it won't interfere with the Supreme Court order which has taken a similar stand.

In contrast to the prior NGT order banning registration of all diesel vehicles, the Supreme Court on December 16 exempted small ones and specified that the diesel-run SUVs and cars having engine capacity beyond 2000 cc would not be registered in Delhi and National Capital Region till March 31.