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Citizens entitled to breathe fresh air: NGT

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New Delhi: Citizens are entitled to breathe fresh air, the National Green Tribunal has said while dismissing a plea filed by a public sector distribution company seeking permission to use diesel generators.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel junked a plea on Wednesday filed by Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam seeking breather from the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority's (EPCA) order on banning use of diesel generators to combat air pollution in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The petitioner had said that while it is under obligation to distribute electricity, there are limitations in distributing power in the entire area due to technical non-feasibility.

"This makes it a compulsion to use diesel generator sets. The appellant made a representation placing this difficulty for consideration by the State Pollution Control Board and a copy of which has been marked to EPCA constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, but the same has not been considered," it said.

The EPCA on October 9 ordered that diesel generator sets will be banned in Delhi and nearby cities, such as Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad, starting October 15.

The tribunal said that 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 in the order.

"Impugned action is an undoubted need for protection of 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. Citizens are entitled to breathe in fresh air. Thus, no interference is called for," the NGT said.

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