Action plan for clean air in Kolkata
The Bengal government on Friday drew up an action plan to bring down the city’s pollution levels and fixed timelines for its execution.
Ban on burning of waste in the open, bar on use of coal-fired ovens by street food vendors and crackdown on vehicles that are 15 years or older were among the steps discussed.
Rajiva Sinha, chief secretary, chaired the meeting that drew up the “action plan” with representatives of various departments, including transport, urban development and environment, Calcutta Municipal Corporation and police after reports of rising levels of air pollutants pointed at the slackness of the state administration in tackling pollution.
Friday’s meeting comes nearly a month after the National Green Tribunal slapped a fine of Rs 10 crore on the government for failing to check pollution despite specific directives passed three years ago.
A bench of Justice S.P. Wangdi and expert member Satyawan Singh Garbyal had directed the state chief secretary to appear before it on November 4 to explain why the directives were not followed.
“A meeting was held to review issues regarding the city’s air quality and timelines were fixed for different departments to execute the plans so that the city can breathe better,” a senior official present at the meeting said.
The secretaries of various departments have been asked to start executing the action plan that involves phasing out of the corporation’s old garbage-carrying vehicles by December 31, penalising those who burn garbage in the open from next week and asking police to crack down on 15-year-old vehicles plying illegally.
The transport department has been asked to ensure induction of more battery-run public buses.