The Bhopal bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to the collectors of four major districts in Madhya Pradesh, seeking their replies on the contempt plea, which alleged that they did not ensure compliance with the tribunal's previous order as people at these places burst firecrackers during Diwali last year, leading to rise in air pollution. In the order, NGT's judicial member Shivkumar Singh and member expert Arun Kumar Verma on Friday directed the collectors of Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior to file their replies within four weeks, the petitioners' counsel Prabhat Yadav told PTI on Saturday.
The contempt petition moved by Dr P G Najpandey and Rajat Bhargava of Jabalpur said the NGT had on October 27 last year banned bursting of crackers and allowed the use of only green crackers for limited time on Diwali (November 4), where the air quality index (AQI) was below 200, he said. As per the petition, on the next day of Diwali, the AQI in these four districts shot up due to bursting of banned crackers and caused breathing problems among people in the midst of the outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory disease, Yadav said.
The petition said that the collectors of the four districts did not ensure compliance with the NGT's order issued in October and firecrackers were burst even where the AQI was poor and it continued till late night, he added. The plea sought that the officials be made to pay compensation for causing pollution.
According to him, the petitioners have also filed a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to substantiate their written submission about the air pollution caused in these four major districts in the state. As per the data of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), the air quality had turned "very poor" in Bhopal and "poor" in Indore on Diwali. The air quality was measured from 6 am on November 4 to 6 am the next day, an MPPCB official had told PTI a day after Diwali.
The air quality in two major cities of MP - Gwalior and Jabalpur - was moderate then. As per the MPPCB website, the PM-10 or dust particles level in Bhopal's residential areas was 350.2 as against the normal of 118.8 during the 24-hour period ending on November 5 morning.
It was 236.40 against the normal 102.20 in residential areas of Indore. In Gwalior's residential areas, where bursting of crackers was banned, the PM-10 level was recorded at 113.7 against the normal 159.9. In Jabalpur, the level was 165 as against the normal of 85 A PM-10 level between 100 and 200 indicates 'moderate' air quality and that above 200 is considered 'poor' and above 300 as 'very poor'.
With PTI Inputs