Congress suggests statutory panel on pollution

Manish Tiwari

New Delhi, Nov 19 : Congress leader Manish Tewari on Tuesday suggested creating a statutory committee of Parliament to look into issues related to air pollution and climate change, saying its work should be placed before the two Houses every session.

Initiating the debate, hailed by several political leaders as the first-ever such discussion on pollution and climate change in the Lok Sabha, Tewari said the government has started National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), but allocation of Rs 300 crore in this fiscal was inadequate.

The Congress leader said stubble burning was blamed for pollution in Delhi, but it was only a contributing factor and has economic dimensions related to small farmers.

“The government needs to work on this and provide incentives to stop stubble burning,” he said.

The Congress leader said Delhi faces pollution every year, but the actions of the government were not effective and asked: “Why do people need to knock the doors of the Supreme Court every year over it?”

It is a matter of grave concern, Tewari said.

He said several Indian cities were facing the problem of pollution and referred to the work done by China in its major cities.

“It is important that today this House gives a message that it is sensitive and serious about this issue. It is not only about air pollution; our rivers are also polluted today,” Tewari said.

Citing the example of Estimates Committee, Tewari said there should be “statutory committee that looks at pollution and climate change-related issues”.

Biju Janata Dal member Pinaki Misra said pollution has costs, and can force economic output down by two per cent.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should lead the campaign against pollution the way he is leading a campaign against single use plastic and for cleanliness.

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