- Centre introduces new law through an ordinance to regulate sources of pollution levels in Delhi-NCR.
- Adjoining areas of UP, Punjab, and Haryana will also come under the purview of the law.
- Violation of the provisions would be rewarded with penalization, either imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 1 crore or both.
THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: In a revolutionary move to battle Delhi’s worsening air quality, the Centre has introduced a new ordinance to make provisions for stricter punishment on violation of Air Pollution laws. The law implemented on October 29 would come into force with immediate effect, particularly in the Delhi-NCR region. Violation of the provisions would be rewarded with penalization, either imprisonment up to five years or fine up to Rs 1 crore or both.
“The ordinance may be called the Commission for Air Quality Management In National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020. It shall apply to the national capital region and adjoining areas in so far as it relates to air pollution matters in the NCR. It shall come into force at once,” it said.
In compliance with the ordinance released by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the adjoining areas of Delhi-NCR such as the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, adjoining areas of the NCR and Delhi will also be impacted by the new laws. On October 28, the ordinance aims to regulate factories and industries that are the primary source of air pollution received the President’s permission.
“Any non-compliance or contravention of any provisions/rules or order/direction of the Commission will be an offense punishable with a jail term up to five years or with fine up to Rs one crore or with both,” it said.
The Commission comprising of 20 members will be headed by a chairperson who is currently holding or has held the post of a secretary of Government of India or chief secretary of a state.
- A representative of the Environment secretary
- Five ex-officio members who are either chief secretaries or secretaries in charge of the environment departments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh
- Two full-time members who have been joint secretaries to the central government
- Three full-time independent technical members who have specific scientific knowledge regarding air pollution
- One technical member from Central Pollution Control Board, one technical member nominated by ISRO
- Three members of NGOs having experience in matters concerning the combating of air pollution.
Apart from the above-listed members, the Commission may appoint associate members – one representative each from the Ministry of Road Transport, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a representative of any association of commerce and industry.
“There shall be a full-time secretary who shall be the chief coordinating officer of the commission and shall assist in managing the affairs of the commission,” it said.
To facilitate the law’s implementation, the Commission will be categorized into three sub-committees, each assigned with a specific task of monitoring and identification, safeguarding and enforcement, and research and development.
Bestowed with the powers to take mitigation measures concerning air pollution, the body can issue directions/orders suo moto and entertain complaints under pollution-related laws such as the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Further, the Commission can exercise its powers to prohibit activities that may deteriorate the current air pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas.