Amid the deteriorating air quality in the national capital, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has directed the state pollution control bodies of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to start criminal prosecution against agencies or individuals who do not comply with directives to check air pollution.
CPCB Chairperson S P Singh Parihar has also issued directions to construction agencies, municipal corporations and landowning industries to comply with the directions of the NGT and the CPCB and ensure corrective actions within 48 hours in cases of air polluting activities as reported by the CPCB inspection teams.
"Failure to which will make the defaulting agencies and individuals liable to criminal prosecution which may be initiated by the CPCB under appropriate provision of the law," a letter dated October 29 written by Parihar said.
On Saturday, Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said the government had decided to initiate criminal prosecution against agencies which failed to comply with directives to check air pollution.
The Environment Ministry's decision came after a review meeting with 41 teams of the CPCB deployed in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad, which found the compliance rate of the agencies concerned in following the directives was "very poor".
Under the Environment Protection Act, there is a provision enabling regulatory agencies such as the CPCB and state pollution boards to proceed with criminal prosecution in such matters. The provision includes fines or imprisonment or both.
Delhi's air quality deteriorated to "severe" level on Tuesday, prompting authorities to ban construction activities and halt operations of industries using coal and biomass as fuel between November 1 and 10 and to consider regulating use of private vehicles.
(With inputs from agencies.)