NGT raps officials over action plan on noise pollution

Last Updated 18 March 2019, 12:03 IST

The National Green Tribunal has rapped the police and the district administration over their action plan to check noise pollution in West Delhi and termed the ATR as "inaction report".

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the DCP and the SDM are merely avoiding the responsibility and shifting the burden to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) or others.

DCP Deepak Purohit and SDM Nitin Jindal, who were present at NGT, informed the tribunal in their action report that an exclusive website and a helpline were being be developed by DPCC.

It had also been asked to undertake programme of awareness and a separate head has been created for the calls relating to noise pollution.

"We find that the action taken report (ATR) is in fact 'Inaction Report. The DCP and the SDM need to be trained for the job for which they have been appointed. They are merely avoiding the responsibility and shifting the burden to the DPCC or others. It is difficult to accept that only DPCC can create awareness or that only DPCC can create website and DCP and SDM are unfit for the job," the bench said.

The green panel directed the chief secretary and the Police Commissioner to monitor the situation and file a report within a month by e-mail.

It also directed the DCP and SDM to take steps for starting the website within a month and furnish a compliance report.

"It will be open to them to take assistance from any experts but not to shift responsibility. The website should be interactive. Hot spots should be identified and mapped and kept under surveillance. They may take guidance from experts including the DPCC and Central Pollution Control Board to understand their mandate and acquire minimum knowledge required for the job," the bench said.

The tribunal said that violation of noise pollution norms is a criminal offence under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, apart from Sections 268/290/291 IPC and it is mandate of Delhi Police to enforce the law.

Noise free environment is a part of fundamental right to life for the citizens, it said.

"We also direct the three Municipal Corporations in Delhi, the New Delhi Municipal Council and the Delhi Cantonment Board to acquire noise monitoring devices at the earliest. Technical assistance for the purpose can be taken from CPCB/DPCC.

"Awareness programmes may be undertaken by the Joint Committee by coordinating with the Residents Welfare Associations and the educational departments or other volunteers. In the present case, unfortunately the committee has simply avoided its responsibility in this regard by taking the plea that it has asked DPCC to do so. The committee is either not competent or not sincere. The higher authorities are not monitoring their working as expected," NGT said.

The tribunal sought a fresh ATR by the Joint Committee before June 30.

The tribunal had earlier rapped the Delhi government for its failure to check noise pollution in West Delhi and slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on it for non-compliance of its order.

The green panel had said that neither a dedicated 24 hour helpline nor a public redressal mechanism has been devised for receiving complaints by SMS, telephone or e-mails.

It had also noted that even the DCP and the SDM have not held joint weekly meeting to review the situation.

The green panel on September 27, 2018 had passed a slew of directions and said Delhi Chief Secretary, Commissioner of Police and Delhi Pollution Control Committee will be responsible for enforcement of the directions.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Hardeep Singh and others alleging that bars and restaurants in Rajouri Garden area were using loudspeakers and DJ systems during weddings, receptions, parties and other functions and causing noise pollution from 10 pm to 6 am.

(Published 18 March 2019, 12:00 IST)

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