Smog towers are structures designed as large-scale air purifiers to reduce air pollution.
A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra took serious note of the fact that MoU with IIT Mumbai for installation of smog tower has not been executed yet despite its orders passed in January this year.
An advocate, who appeared in the matter, said that the apex court has asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to execute the MoU within seven days in this regard.
In a joint affidavit filed in the top court, the MoEF&CC and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) gave details of the current status of work with regard to installation of smog tower.
The affidavit said that the Centre is taking “all possible steps at the highest level to mitigate and contain the present surge in air pollution”.
It alleged that MoU has not been finalised as IIT Mumbai has not agreed to take responsibility of overall coordination of the project and verification of works to be carried out by Tata Projects Limited, which has been involved by IIT Mumbai for construction, operation and maintenance of smog tower.
It said that in January this year, the IIT Mumbai had submitted its proposal titled ‘pilot study for assessment of reducing air pollution in urban area by using medium scale cleaning system’.
The affidavit said officials from IIT Mumbai and Tata Projects Ltd had conducted a site visit on February 11.
It said after the site visit, a draft MoU was prepared by CPCB and it was also discussed with IIT Mumbai along with the financials for the project.
It said funds amounting to Rs 18.52 crore have been sanctioned for the project.
The affidavit further alleged that meetings were convened with IIT Mumbai and Tata Projects Ltd in months of April, May and July “to resolve the issues but the MoU has not been finalized as IIT Mumbai has not agreed to take the responsibility of the overall coordination of the project and verification of the works to be carried out by Tata Projects Limited”.
It claimed that in order to get the project executed and to comply with the apex court’s direction, the ministry and the CPCB have “showed special consideration” and made several concessions in the interest of the project.
It alleged that on July 15 a meeting was convened by the ministry with IIT Mumbai and CPCB to make an attempt to resolve the issues but before the meeting, IIT Mumbai had conveyed its view through an e-mail dated July 14 that it would not be able to accept the conditions in the MoU, like taking responsibility of overall coordination of the project and verification of works to be carried out by Tata Power Ltd.
“IIT Mumbai further stated that it would however provide technical coordination during installation and performance evaluation on commissioning,” it said, adding the IIT Mumbai has further said that “if this position is not acceptable to CPCB, it is prepared to accept the possibility of cancellation of the award of the project”.
“It is submitted that since the proposal of installation of smog tower was conceptualized and developed by IIT Mumbai and it has coordinated with various agencies/partners – University of Minnesota, Tata Projects Limited and IIT Delhi, it was technically best suited for IIT Mumbai to take the lead responsibility for execution and coordination of the project,” the affidavit said.
In its January 13 this year order, the top court had said that smog tower be installed at Anand Vihar and the project be completed within three months.
The apex court had also directed use of anti-smog guns in Delhi and national capital region (NCR) for large construction sites, road construction stretches, mining activities, large parking sites on unpaved areas and during large public gatherings, demolition activities etc.
The top court had passed these directives while hearing the matter relating to air pollution in the Delhi-NCR. PTI ABA MNL SJK ABA RKS RKS
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI