The central government has issued an ordinance to help set up a standing committee to look into air quality management in Delhi and surrounding areas. It has been implemented with immediate effect. The ordinance issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice on Thursday said that violating the provisions can lead to a jail term of up to five years or a fine of Rs one crore or both. It said, “The ordinance can be called the Commission Ordinance 2020 for air quality management in the NCR region and its associated areas. This will be applicable to the National Capital Region and surrounding areas where there are issues related to air pollution.
Normally an executive order is passed through the cabinet. But sources have said that the ordinance has been issued at the last minute by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the provisions of a special rule so that it can be signed by the President before the Supreme Court hearing.
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The ordinance was signed by the President on Wednesday. According to the ordinance, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are the areas connected with Delhi and NCR, adjoining areas where it will be applicable. The commission will have 20 members, who will ensure strict adherence to its rules. It said, “Not following any of the provisions or rules or orders or instructions of the Commission will be a punishable offense for which a jail term of five years or a fine of one crore rupees or both can be punished simultaneously.”
There will also be a chairman of the commission. The commission will have two full-time members who will be joint secretaries of the central government. Apart from this, there will be three full time independent technical members who will have scientific knowledge related to air pollution. There will also be a technical member of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and ISRO will nominate a technical member. There will also be three members of the NGO having experience in preventing air pollution. The commission can also appoint associate members.
The commission will have three sub-committees with one each in surveillance and identification, security and enforcement and research and development.
The Commission will have the authority to take cognizance of cases, hear complaints, issue orders for redressal under the existing laws like the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, and the Environment (Protection) Act 1986. And the surrounding areas will have the right to ban any activities responsible for air pollution.
(Also from input language)