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Delhi air pollution: Centre expresses unwillingness to ask employees to WFH, prefers carpooling

The government stated in its affidavit that in the recent past, various governmental services were disrupted for a significant amount of time owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, which had pan-India repercussions.

Delhi air pollution Centre expresses unwillingness to ask employees to WFH supreme court gcw
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New Delhi, First Published Nov 17, 2021, 10:43 AM IST
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The Centre has expressed unwillingness before the Supreme Court On Wednesday to ask its employees to work from home amid an escalating air quality crisis in Delhi and nearby cities. It has instead recommended its staff in Delhi to use carpooling to limit the number of automobiles they use for commuting, according to an affidavit. The government stated in its affidavit that in the recent past, various governmental services were disrupted for a significant amount of time owing to the COVID-19 epidemic, which had pan-India repercussions. On the other hand, the Centre stated that it had "issued a carpooling warning" to its staff.

It stated that the number of vehicles used by the Central government is a minuscule fraction of the total cars in the national capital, and stopping their plying would not impact the air quality of Delhi. It also mentioned orders issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi-NCR and neighbouring regions, such as a restriction on truck entrance into Delhi till November 21, save for trucks transporting critical goods, the closure of thermal plants, and a building ban.

Also Read | Delhi air pollution: Schools, colleges, thermal plants shut; offices asked to do 50% WFH

Meanwhile, the Punjab administration has submitted an application in the Supreme Court claiming that it is reducing stubble burning. Farmers, it stated, require incentives for crop diversification as well as monetary assistance for sustainable farming. The state administration has stated that it need the help of the federal government to entirely eliminate stubble burning.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, standing for the Centre, advised the Supreme Court that companies using prohibited fuels should be stopped immediately and industries with gas connectivity should switch to gas immediately. He went on to say that the Commission had ordered state authorities to ensure that diesel vehicles over ten years old and petrol vehicles more than 15 years old should not be allowed to operate. He also asked the Delhi government to put an adequate number of CNG buses on the road as soon as possible.

According to the Solicitor General, the panel also mandated the deployment of smog towers, sprinklers, and dust suppressants in sensitive regions at least three times each day. When it comes to working from home, he believes that states should support it for those who work in private businesses.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court stated that TV discussions pollute the environment more than anybody else since people don't comprehend and words are taken out of context. It went on to say that everyone has their agenda.

In its most recent session on Monday, the Supreme Court requested the Centre and states to investigate work-from-home options for at least a week. According to the Supreme Court, pollution from manufacturing, vehicles, dust, and occasional stubble burning are key contributors. As numerous states in north India remain engulfed in hazardous air, the Supreme Court has urged the government to take immediate action.

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