The union environment ministry has published “The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Area Ordinance” on Thursday for air pollution control in Delhi-NCR.
The commission has an objective of implementing a consolidated approach to monitoring, tackling and eliminating causes of air pollution in Delhi-NCR by coordinating with state governments.
The commission will be a statutory authority that will replace the 22-year-old Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) which has introduced several important interventions to control pollution.
Among their most significant intervention was converting all public transport in Delhi to compressed natural gas (CNG) in 1998, phasing out polluting fuels like pet coke and furnace oil from industries and imposing pollution charge on old polluting trucks.
The commission will have appropriate powers which can act against air pollution on a war footing and will coordinate with the NCR states and central government. It will have the power to issue directions to various statutory authorities established under various laws.
The ordinance says that based on court orders, various ad hoc committees like the EPCA were formed to assist courts in implementation of its orders but the new commission may subsume them.
The new commission, however, will function completely under the aegis and supervision of the central government. It will have members from all NCR states and the Central Pollution Control Board, from associated ministries like petroleum and natural gas, agriculture, commerce etc.
The commission will have powers to take decisions and act against pollution sources under various environmental laws, like the environment protection act and air act.
A senior environment ministry official confirmed that the ordinance will be submitted to Supreme Court today but didn’t comment further on setting up the commission.