Notices To Delhi Municipal Bodies For Failing To Curb Air Pollution

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With increasing Air pollution, watchdog asks why municipal body commissioners should not be prosecuted

New Delhi:

The Central Pollution Control Board has sent show cause notices to municipal bodies SDMC and EDMC for failing to check air polluting activities under their jurisdiction, asking why their commissioners should not be prosecuted for inaction.

In two separate notices issued on November 29, the watchdog asked for an explanation as to why action should not be initiated for prosecution of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) commissioners for "failing to effectively control air polluting incidences" under their jurisdiction.

CPCB chairman S P Singh Parihar sought response to the notices within 48 hours.

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The Supreme Court had on Monday asked the CPCB to prosecute government officials for not acting on around 250 complaints received by it from citizens.

"Why don't you prosecute these officials? You should prosecute them. Let these people realise what they have done," the Supreme Court had told the CPCB.

In its notice to SDMC, the CPCB said that out of the 866 complaints received by citizens and teams deployed by the pollution watchdog, till now only 200 complaints have been resolved, 334 complaints were being investigated and 332 were not yet attended.

In its notice to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), the CPCB said that out of the 534 complaints received by citizens and teams deployed by the pollution watchdog, till now only 133 complaints were resolved, 272 complaints were being either investigated and 129 were not yet attended.

Mr Parihar said that time and again the CPCB has urged these bodies to open social media accounts to address these complaints.

"CPCB's meetings with nodal agencies were also held on Nov 14, 19, 22 and 23 wherein agencies were directed to join the social media platform," he said in the notices.

Mr Parihar noted that the deterioration of air quality is a matter of serious concern and the CPCB has deployed teams that are sending alerts by means of directly informing the responsible agencies.

"It is the responsibility of the nodal agencies concerned to attend incidents of air pollution and take measures to mitigate problem in a time-bound manner," it added.

The CPCB, earlier in its meetings with public authorities including SDMC and EDMC, had termed their action on complaints "grossly inadequate".

Last week, the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority Chairperson Bhure Lal also lashed out at enforcement agencies, alleging that Delhi's civic and urban bodies are "not properly implementing" the directions issued to curb pollution.

Delhi has been battling alarming levels of pollution for over a month where the air quality has been oscillating between poor and severe category, prompting authorities to adopt a slew of measures. These include the CPCB opening social media accounts for public to register their complaints.

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