By LE Staff
April 13, 2021
The Ordinance aims to provide for the constitution of the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas for better co-ordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
The ordinance on air quality management in NCR and adjoining areas was re-promulgated on April 13, a month after it lapsed causing the central government’s Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas to shut down within five months of its constitution.
The new ordinance has spared farmers hefty penalty (of up to Rs 1 crore) and jail terms (up to five years) for stubble burning. The tweaked provision of the new legislation also includes stakeholders from three sectors — agriculture, industry and transport — in the expanded commission which will be reconstituted to decide issues linked to air pollution.
The re-promulgated ordinance, however, gives power to the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to impose and collect penalties or environmental compensation from farmers causing air pollution by stubble burning at a certain rate and manner, which maybe prescribed later through rules of the legislation.
The hefty penalty provisions for industries, power plants or other polluters, as mandated in the original Ordinance, will continue as an “offence” punishable with jail term up to five years or with fine, which may extend up to Rs 1 crore, or both.
The original Ordinance, which lapsed due to curtailment of the Budget session of Parliament last month, was re-promulgated on April 13 evening, making its provisions effective immediately. It was initially promulgated on October 28 last year.
The CAQM under the original ordinance ceased to exist on March 12 as it could not be replaced with an Act within six weeks of convening of the Budget session of Parliament.
The tweaked provision of the re-promulgated ordinance has expanded the CAQM from 18-member to a 21-member body by giving three additional representations to stakeholders from agriculture, industry, transport or construction sectors as members of the body. The body will soon be reconstituted, keeping view of the its earlier members.