Taking note of the alarming rise in pollution levels, the Supreme Court today asked the Centre to respond within 48 hours and provide details of its policy or a "disaster management plan" to deal with the prevailing situation in the National Capital Region.
The court also considered the submission on alleged differences among various authorities and the Centre and the Delhi government and asked them to devise a "common minimum programme" for taking steps to deal with the pollution menace.
"We want to know whether you (Centre) have any disaster management plan. Do you have a policy which deals with graded responses to the situation and provides what action would be taken at which stage? What is the protocol? Now the time has come where we need to have this," a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and SA Bobde said.
During the 30-minute long hearing, the bench sought to know from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, about the policy to deal with the rising pollution levels and asked whether the Centre monitored the situation.
There should be a policy with regard to steps to be taken at every stage such as at level one, particular decisions would be taken and at level two, odd-even scheme would be implemented and at level three, schools would be closed, the bench suggested while giving illustrations on possible graded responses to emerging situations.
The Solicitor General said unregulated "commercialisation" and "industrialisation" of Delhi was one of the reasons for the present situation. "In last 60 years, Delhi has grown in such a manner where there has been unregulated urbanisation. The vehicles have grown in numbers. If you cover a distance in one hour and 20 in contrast to 20 minutes, then it adds to pollution," he said and sought two days time from the court to seek instructions from the Centre in the matter.
Meanwhile, Delhi government informed the court that it has so far acquired six vacuum cleaning vehicles and two have been already made functional.