Polluters may face a five-year jail term and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore, as per the Centre’s new ordinance bought in to help curb air pollution in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).
According to a report by CNN News18, the union government on October 29 formed the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi-NCR which has been empowered to get FIRs registered against polluters and those who violate its orders.
The commission will be an 18-member body, comprising bureaucrats, experts and activists. The Ministry of Environment will be the nodal authority for the commission.
The panel will monitor air quality, enforce laws and carry out research and innovation to control air pollution levels. It will also table an annual report before Parliament.
The commission has been given the power to issue directives that supersede orders by state governments and agencies.
It will replace all existing bodies, including the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority for the National Capital Region.
India Pollution Tracker: Check air quality index today in Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities
According to a report by NDTV, President Ram Nath Kovind has already signed an executive order for the committee's formation.
Earlier this month, the union government had informed the top court that it is contemplating creation of a permanent body through legislation to deal with NCR's air pollution issue arising from stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was enforced in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) on October 15 to help reduce air pollution.While the AQI hovering in the ‘hazardous’ levels (especially in the later stages of winter) has been a concern for many years, medical experts have warned that air pollution can aggravate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.