Rs 1 Cr Fine, 5-Year Jail: Centre’s New Law To Curb Air Pollution In Delhi NCR

New Delhi: The central government has issued an ordinance, making pollution an offence with a jail term, which can go up to 5 years and a penalty up to Rs 1 crore. The ordinance was issued on Wednesday night after the approval of President Ram Nath Kovind.

President Ram Nath Kovind has signed an ordinance or executive order for the formation of a committee to look into the air quality management in Delhi and its adjoining areas. The ordinance comes ahead of Thursday’s hearing of the pollution issue in the Supreme Court.

According to the ordinance, a Commission for Air Quality Management will be set up for the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index. Any non-compliance or contravention of any provisions/rules or order/direction of the Commission will be an offence punishable with a jail term up to five years or with fine up to Rs one crore or with both.

The Commission, headed by a full-time chairperson of secretary-rank or chief secretary-rank bureaucrat, will have three sub-committees – one on ‘monitoring and identification’, second on ‘safeguarding and enforcement’ and the third on ‘research and development’ to tackle the issue of air pollution in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh.

The members of the Commission include secretary in the in the Union environment ministry, senior officials from Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan, one technical member from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), representatives from Niti Aayog and several central ministries such as transport, urban affairs and petroleum & natural gas, and experts from scientific institutions and NGOs.

A selection committee, headed by the Union environment will recommend names for the post of chairperson and other members of the Commission. The chairperson will hold the post for three years or until she/he attains the age of 70 years.

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