The body, Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas, will have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — states which impact the Delhi-NCR air quality. It is likely to replace several pollution related committees including the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).
The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020, released by the law and justice ministry on Thursday, was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday.
It comes within days of the Centre telling the Supreme Court during a hearing on a matter related to air pollution that it will bring a new legislation on air quality management in the NCR and adjoining areas.
The 18-member commission, whose members have yet to be selected, will coordinate inter-state and inter-ministerial actions to check air pollution. It will have the power to prohibit activities that are likely to cause or increase air pollution in the NCR and adjoining areas.
NGT to Hear Appeals Against Decisions
It will also have the power to lay down parameters of air quality and emissions, discharge of pollutants, inspect premises violating the law on the basis of complaints and also to take suo motu cognisance of violations, and order closure of non-abiding industries or plants.
Appeals in cases of non-compliance will lie only with the National Green Tribunal and not any civil court. Provisions of both stringent punishments and appeals are new and stronger measures, aimed at deterrence against violation of pollution norms.
The body is proposed to replace multiple ad hoc committees and task forces set up under the Union environment ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), besides the EPCA set up in 1998 by the Supreme Court.
It will have three sub-committees — on monitoring and identification, safeguarding and enforcement, and research and development — to help address the problem of air pollution.
The commission will be headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a secretary to the government of India or chief secretary of a state. It will have senior officials from the Union government and stakeholder states, besides experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Indian Space Research Organisation. Experts and stakeholders from civil society are also likely to be co-opted in the body, which will look at strong public engagement to fight air pollution.
The chairperson of the commission will be selected by a committee headed by the Union minister for environment, forest and climate change. It will also have on board the cabinet secretary and ministers for road transport and highways, commerce and industry, and science and tech.
New law creates powerful oversight body to tackle pollution in NCR and adjoining areas
No more a toothless tiger
According to a report by PTI, faced with rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR, the Centre has introduced a new law through an ordinance that puts in place a powerful oversight body and provides for up to five years of jail term and Rs one crore fine for violators with immediate effect. Under the ordinance released by the Ministry of Law and Justice on October 29, the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has been dissolved and replaced by a commission comprising over 20 members. The commission may take up matters suo motu or on the basis of complaints, the ordinance said, adding that any appeal against any direction of the panel shall lie only with the National Green Tribunal.
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5 Comments on this Story
Sanjeev Goyal24 days ago
Unless there is a restriction on registration of new vehicles - how pollution can be controlled?
V K27 days ago
Let us watch this fun also.
Dillip Patnaik27 days ago
Law will not eradicate pollution from India. It is backward corrupt country. Nothing works properly. It is run by dumb lethargic 3rd grader personality. That is the tragedy of India.