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High court alarmed over night pollution

The high court on Monday expressed concern over the rise in air and sound pollution at night and directed the transport, environment and police departments to pitch in with efforts to find a solution.

“The departments are directed to suggest the names of experts who will be part of a committee that will monitor night pollution and take appropriate action,” the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi ruled.

The chief justice also said: “The level of pollution in the city at night is increasing alarmingly. The authorities concerned should be more active in checking the pollution.”

The bench also asked the three departments to file a report on the implementation of an earlier order by the court aimed at reducing night pollution.

The high court had in 2010, following a petition by environment activist Subhas Dutta, directed the police, environment and transport departments to take certain measures to check night pollution.

Among the measures were installation of pollution checking machines on each road and setting up of at least three mobile remote-sensing devices to measure air pollution created by vehicles at night.

The bench had also said there should be pollution checking machines at each petrol pump and action should be taken against vehicles using air horns.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday after a long gap, the state authorities submitted a report stating actions taken by the police against the owners of vehicles using air horns.

But petitioner Dutta submitted that the state had ignored the main part of the court order.

“Of the three major pollution checking machines in the city, two are defunct. There is no mobile remote-sensing device. Thousands of heavy goods vehicles are entering the city. There is no one to check the pollution created by these vehicles,” Dutta said.

Referring to a recent Supreme Court order, Dutta said: “The apex court had ordered that at least one pollution checking device be set up in each check post across the country…. But the state government has not taken any action to implement the Supreme Court’s order.”

Dutta also submitted that the Posta market in Burrabazar, where goods are dumped, should be relocated.

“The court had set up a committee to monitor the pollution level in the city at night. The committee has become defunct. A new panel should be formed,” Dutta submitted. State panel lawyer Bikash Mukherjee, too, expressed the need to set up another committee. After hearing both the sides, the division bench passed its order.