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EPCA writes to Delhi government, stresses on augmented public transport (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The Supreme Court-monitored Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) for NCR on Friday wrote to the Delhi government and stressed the need for augmented public transport system and collaborative action to curb pollution.

There was no need for finger-pointing, EPCA Chairman Bhure Lal wrote in a letter to Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and sought “focus on drastic action and long-term steps” to tackle pollution.

He said there was urgent need for augmentation of public transport and its improved functioning but “there has been too little action on this front”.

Bhure Lal said the EPCA had explained to the government that land was available for parking of 2,000 buses within available infrastructure but no additional buses were procured.

He said neighbouring states were doing more than their share in some cases to fight pollution.

“But as I said before, finger-pointing will not suffice. Action will,” he said.

The EPCA letter came in response to the Delhi government’s letter on Thursday wherein it sought implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) measures in the National Capital Region, including Delhi, as enforcing it in the national capital alone would not be of much consequence.

Bhure Lal questioned the Delhi government why it announced implementation of the odd-even vehicular regulation scheme even before the environmental watchdog’s task force could assess the situation and communicate its decision.

He pointed out that lack of public transport would make the odd-even scheme — an important pollution control intervention — meaningless.

He said the odd-even scheme, as per the GRAP, was designed as an emergency scheme under which there were no exemptions.

The committee Chairperson said GRAP was designed to take emergency actions to bring pollution down during thick smog and its first-ever implementation had resulted in up to 15-20 per cent reduction in pollution.

Bhure Lal said that happened as the governments of NCR had followed EPCA directives but it “was not the way forward”.

He said there was a need for permanent solution to the dire problem of air pollution in the NCR.

“In my experience, this is only possible through collaborative action and building atmosphere of trust and collegial working,” he said.

Post Source: Ians feed

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