The Supreme Court today granted three more months to the Centre to come out with standards for emissions by industries in the National Capital Region (NCR) to bring down the level of air pollutants.
The government was initially seeking six more months for fixation of standards for emissions but a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed that the time sought was “too much”.
“It is too much time there is no doubt about it,” the bench told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.
Kumar, however, told the apex court that the government has taken several steps in this regard in the past two months and deliberations were going on for fixation of standards for emissions.
He said data received from various industries was being examined and the government was also taking into consideration the international norms on emissions.
He requested the court to grant time till October and assured that the government will “make substantial progress” by then.
“What about the ban on petcoke and furnace oil? We have to ban its use till you come out with standards for emission,” the bench observed after which the solicitor general said there were various issues to look into in this regard.
Meanwhile, the bench asked the counsel appearing for the manufacturers whether they would abide by the standards of emissions fixed by the government.
“We have given you (manufacturers) enough time and warning that by December 31 this year, you have to change,” the bench observed.
The counsel told the bench that they would abide by the emission standards fixed by the government.
During the hearing, the court also asked the solicitor general as to how different standards for emissions could be fixed for different types of industries.
Responding to the query, he said that they would have to see what type of technology is available to control emissions and they may have to fix more than one standard.
The bench has now fixed the matter for October 24.
The apex court had in May directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare standards for emissions by industries in the NCR to curb level of air pollutants.
It had asked CPCB to prepare the standards for emissions by June 30, which should be followed by industries by December end this year.
The court is hearing a 1985 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta who has raised the issue of increasing air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The apex court was earlier told about the ill-effects of petcoke and furnace oil used in industries on ambient air.
The apex court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had claimed that even China has stopped using sulphur-heavy fuels since 2014 and Indian industries have been buying petcoke.
The EPCA’s counsel had said emission of sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides has to be brought down to improve the quality of air in the national capital and adjoining areas.
The Centre had said that reports have been sought from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Physical Laboratory, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) and industrial houses with regard to banning of petcoke and furnace oil.
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