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Air pollution: SC says implement directions, allows Delhi govt to resume construction work of hospitals

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New Delhi, Dec 3, 2021- The Supreme Court on Friday said the government should continue to implement concrete measures to curb air pollution and also allowed the Delhi government to continue with construction activities of hospitals.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said: “For the time being in view of particular measures by the government of India and notification dated December 2, we direct the government of India and GNCTD to implement those measures. We’ll keep the matter pending and list it (the matter) next Friday.”

The Delhi government counsel requested the top court to grant relaxations in the construction to allow construction of government hospitals. The bench allowed the government to go ahead with the construction activities of hospitals.

The construction activities in Delhi were shut after air quality deteriorated to alarming levels. However, on November 22, the construction activity was resumed by the Delhi government, in the backdrop of improved air quality. On November 24, the top court re-imposed the ban in Delhi-NCR.

The Delhi government had informed the apex court that it had started to revamp the hospitals and the construction of 7 new hospitals is underway to prepare for the third wave of the coronavirus. The Delhi government said the work is being carried out in 19 government hospitals to provide better health infrastructure in the national capital for the benefit of patients.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, cited various decisions taken by the commission, which include the constitution of an “emergency task force” and “flying squads” to take action against defaulting entities, to combat the menace of air pollution in the capital. The commission has also decided to restrict the operations of industries, which are not using PNG or cleaner fuels, by 8 hours on weekdays and remain closed on weekends.

The Delhi government informed the top court that it has decided to close the physical classes in schools until further order. Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar representing the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted that closing the industries will impact the sugarcane and milk industries. The bench permitted the UP government to raise its grievances before the air quality commission.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court put the Centre and the Delhi government on a 24-hour deadline to devise a concrete mechanism to control air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Indicating at setting up a task force, the top court said nothing is really happening on the ground to control pollution and all authorities have failed.  (Agency)

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