The MPs, including Jairam Ramesh, chairman of parliamentary committee on environment and forest and environment minister in the UPA government, Jagadambika Pal of BJP; Ram Mohan Naidu (TDP), Kakoli Ghosh (AITMC), T Sumathy (DMK), KJ Alphons (BJP), among others agreed to establish a new cross-party parliamentarian group for clean air.
Jagadambika Pal is the chairman of parliamentary committee on urban development. Delhi's urban infrastructure matters, including metro transport and Delhi Development Authority, are largely governed by the Union ministry of urban development.
The group also agreed to meet again to discuss a private member’s bill proposing amendments in the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 scheduled to be tabled by Gaurav Gogoi, member of Parliament from the Congress in the Parliament today.
The roundtable co-hosted by the office of Gogoi, in partnership with the Energy Policy Institute (EPI) at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) and was attended by more than 10 MPs as well as representatives from research groups, think tanks, non-profits, medical fraternity, and others. The roundtable facilitated discussions on the health impacts of air pollution, innovations in environmental regulations and ways to tackle air pollution through legal and regulatory reforms, said a press statement of EPI.
During the discussion, the parliamentarians agreed that the impact of air pollution on human health is a crisis not just for Delhi-NCR but for the entire country and that it needs urgent and holistic action. Stressing on the need for a coalition between different bodies and collective efforts, the parliamentarian group for clean air has decided to meet regularly and discuss the way forward to resolve issues around India’s pollution problem.
It was decided during the round table that all these parliamentarians will convene again next week to discuss the private member’s bill proposed by Gogoi in the Parliament. The amendment calls for establishing public health as a priority in abating pollution and realigning the law’s priorities towards protecting human health. Additionally, the Bill revamps the composition of the pollution control boards, empowers the Boards to levy bank guarantees as a means of environmental compensation, and provides procedures for ensuring robust coordination and interaction between the central and state boards, alongside other provisions.