MARCH 1

  • Polybags banned in Patiala

  • No let-up on CNG for city buses: SC

  • Polybags banned in Patiala

    THE TIMES OF INDIA [1 MARCH, 2002]
    TIMES NEWS NETWORK

    PATIALA: Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on polythene bags, district magistrate Jasbir Singh Bir, on Thursday, banned the manufacture of the polythene bags made of virgin plastic having thickness of less than 20 microns and using carry bags or containers made of recycled plastic for storing, carrying, dispensing or packing.

    All wholesale dealers of Patiala district have been directed to register their firms with the Punjab Pollution Control Board within 10 days of issue of this order.The superintending engineer of the Pollution Control Board would be responsible for the implementation of these orders.

    PSEB marks establishment day:

    The Punjab State Electricity Board organised a special cultural function on its 43rd Establishment Day. It was inaugurated by board chief.

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    No let-up on CNG for city buses: SC

    THE TIMES OF INDIA [1 MARCH, 2002]
    TIMES NEWS NETWORK

    NEW DELHI: The Delhi governmentís attempt to slow down the conversion of the cityís 10,000-strong bus fleet to compressed natural gas from diesel has been foiled. The Supreme Court on Thursday said it would not modify or recall its orders to that effect.

    A Bench headed by Justice B N Kirpal said: "You (the government) can take it from us that we are not going to recall or modify any of our orders for converting the entire city bus fleet into CNG mode."

    The Delhi government had urged the court to extend the February 28 deadline for conversion of all diesel buses in the Capital. The court will hear the matter on Wednesday.

    As solicitor general Harish Salve, who assisted the court in the matter, criticised the Mashlekar panel report, the Bench observed that vehicular pollution was on the rise in Delhi.

    "There was no public health expert or doctor on the panel nor was any analysis carried out about the impact of pollution on the environment," the judges said.

    "There are scientific reports which indicate that vehicular pollution kills more people in Delhi every year than those killed in the Bhopal gas tragedy," the Bench added.

    Salve said as per a 1998 estimate, "particulate matter pollution" alone accounted for 10,000 lives. As per a 1995 World Health Organisation estimate about 5,000 people die every year in Delhi due to pollution, Salve added.

    Criticising the Mashelkar report for not taking ground realities about adulteration and focussing only on fixing standards, Salve said the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) through an independent testing agency found that although the court had specified a long time back that only petrol with a benzene content of one per cent should be supplied, the level of the pollutant was found to be around three per cent.

    Salve also sought imposition of fines on the government for misusing the process of court by filing an application for relaxation of the deadline for the sixth time, in spite of an earlier rejection.

    "If a private litigant has made such repeated requests on one ground or the other it would have been viewed as abuse of the process," Salve said.

    Centre for Science and Environment director Sunita Narain said she was very happy with the Supreme Courtís Thursday decision.

    "Our stand has been vindicated. And I am most satisfied with the comment made by amicus curiae Harish Salve," she told The Times of India.

    Salve said he was pressing for imposition of costs on the government. He said if a private litigant had made such repeated requests on one ground or the other it would have been viewed as "abuse of the process".

    She said it was good that the court made it clear that it would not modify or recall its earlier order on the conversion of the entire city bus fleet into single fuel CNG mode and viewed the Mashelkar committee report in a poor light.

    "The court made it evident that there was no question of allowing Euro II buses to ply," she said. She had earlier said that the committee never understood that public health was their main concern. No public health expert had been included in the panel of members.

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