Centre’s 12-point draft Air Action Plan — prepared by a task force under the Prime Minister’s Office — is not in conflict with anti-pollution measures approved by the Supreme Court (SC) and National Green Tribunal (NGT), CK Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told DNA. Mishra said that the action plan to tackle pollution in Delhi-NCR was in fact based on the template provided by the courts.A task-force set up under the chairmanship of Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister released its own 12-point draft action plan earlier this week to seek public suggestions and comments. “This is an action plan, where we have decided on certain focus issues after discussion. Whatever has been said by NGT or earlier by the Supreme Court is sacrosanct, and we are implementing that,” Mishra told DNA.Authorities in Delhi are currently bound by court orders to implement emergency anti-pollution measures as per two different action plans. One is the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) prepared by the SC-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, and the other is a graded plan NGT formulated in a judgment earlier this week. These action plans have come in the wake of toxic smog episodes that Delhi experienced in the winter of 2016 and 2017. Pollution levels at some pockets in Delhi were 13-14 times than the normal limit, which could even make a healthy person unwell.Mishra added that the draft plan will be fine-tuned keeping in mind the existing action plans, and Centre would continue to implement them even as its own plan is being prepared. “Court’s mandate is the overarching direction we are following. These are some of the issues we have picked up from the discussions and court’s mandate. We have also made it open to the public, largely because if there is some innovative idea we have not thought of, let people tell us.”The Centre’s 12-point action plan has sought to focus on tackling broad issues such as crop stubble burning, curbing industrial pollution, solid waste management, curbing dust pollution, enhancing public transport and reducing road congestion. It includes measures such as curtailment of Nitrogen Dioxide from power plants in a time-bound manner and creation of a dashboard for monitoring the most polluting industries.Even as the Centre seeks to curb pollution from thermal power plants, it has already allowed them 16 new power plants to emit sulphur and nitrogen pollutants above permissible limits, relaxing its December 2017 deadline to limit emissions.Point of focusThe 12-point action plan seeks to focus on tackling issues such as crop stubble burning, curbing industrial pollution, solid waste management, curbing dust pollution, enhancing public transport and reducing road congestion.
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