The National Green Tribunal has slammed the Delhi government for not taking action against illegal scrap industries in Mayapuri that are causing pollution, saying why is the chief secretary feeling helpless in protecting lives of victims.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the chief secretary and the Chairman and Member Secretary, Delhi Pollution Control Committee to respond why they should not be jailed and be prosecuted if illegal activities are not stopped and people remain suffering on account of illegal activities.
The green panel also ordered the officials to appear before it on May 3 with compliance report.
Stating that "there cannot be blackmailing by law violators", the tribunal also rejected a plea of business-owners that they be given alternative land before any step is taken to shut their activities at the site.
The NGT said that there is acknowledged failure to comply with the orders of the tribunal by the Delhi government and the chief secretary appears to have merely expressed helplessness in taking action.
"We fail to understand why guilty are not being prosecuted in spite of more than five years of order of this Tribunal and in spite of undertaking given by the Chief Secretary before the Tribunal. Why electricity is being supplied for illegal polluting activities. Why no officer has been dismissed nor any polluter arrested or punished.
"Polluting activity causing deaths and diseases are no less than murder or attempt to murder. Pollution laws confer vast powers on DPCC which is not being exercised for reasons difficult to understand. Why is the Chief Secretary feeling helpless in protecting lives of victims, even though armed with all powers under various laws," the tribunal said.
The green panel said that no meaningful steps have been taken in last four years for compliance of the orders and even the performance guarantee, as required, has not been furnished and responsibility shifted.
During the hearing, a large number of persons who are allegedly carrying out polluting activities were present before the tribunal and sought the NGT's permission to continue their business.
"There is no merit in the applications seeking non-implementation of orders of the Tribunal, directing closure of illegal activities. If such activities are going on since long, it does not create a right to continue the same. One of counsel submitted that they should be first given alternative land and then asked to stop illegal activities.
"There cannot be such blackmailing by law violators. There cannot be any justification to cause pollution and consequent death of people for making earning by illegal means at the cost of life of others," it said.
The green panel had also directed an oversight committee headed by former high court judge Justice Pratibha Rani to monitor the working of a seven-member Special Task Force which was formed to take action against the units involved in dismantling of heavy vehicles.
The NGT had taken note of an English newspaper report about the scrap business in Mayapuri.
"Proceedings have been initiated in view of the news item to the effect that there is scrap business at Mayapuri, Delhi, worth Rs 6,000 crores per annum," it had noted.
"The activities of the said business spew toxic fumes and chemicals and oils are also emitted. Such toxic fumes create severe air pollution affecting public health," it had added.
The news item said that authorities have failed to take necessary steps of stopping illegal industrial activities resulting in toxic fumes being released in the air.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)