"Citizens are entitled to breathe in fresh air," observed the Principal bench of National Green Tribunal while rejecting a plea filed by Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam challenging an order passed by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, banning the use of Diesel Generators (DG) in Delhi and in vicinity towns- Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon, Sonipat, Panipat, Bahadurgarh.
A bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said "Impugned action is an undoubted need for protection of the environment and public health. If the appellant cannot supply electricity, it is for the appellant to find out ways and means within the purview of law. This cannot be ground to use DG sets in violation of air quality protection norms."
The order to ban DG sets was passed after the authority was advised by the Task Force on Graded Response Action Plan, which is chaired by the member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board that the coming period, beginning October 12, 2019 is projected to have adverse weather conditions, which will exacerbate the potential for pollution. The region is already in the 'Moderate/poor' category in terms of air quality and, therefore, all efforts have to be made to ensure that the levels do not rise further, even with adverse weather conditions.
To avoid the requirement of Dg sets the State Electricity Boards were asked to ensure special efforts are made for 24x7 electricity in these towns. The applicant in its plea said that "that while it is under obligation to distribute electricity, there are limitations in distributing electricity in the entire area due to technical non-feasibility."
The bench said "In view of the fact that Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been duly notified under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and is binding and that the impugned order is merely enforcing the GRAP, there is no illegality therein. Impugned action is an undoubted need for protection of environment and public health."