The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Centre to "start at the earliest" the work for installation of smog tower at Anand Vihar in east Delhi, which is aimed at helping in combating air pollution. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra was informed by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that setting up of the smog tower, a structure designed as large-scale air purifier to reduce air pollution, would take 10 months and the authorities would be unable to curtail this time limit.
It is ok but the work should start at the earliest, the bench said. The apex court asked Mehta to apprise it on August 10 about the time frame and also when the work for installation of the smog tower can be started.
During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the solicitor general told the bench that supervision of the project work would be done by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay while funding would be provided by the government. On July 30, the Centre had informed the top court that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been prepared for the installation of smog tower and it would be signed by the stakeholders soon.
The apex court had earlier questioned the Centre as to why its January 13 order, directing the project to be completed within three months, was not complied with. The top court had earlier expressed shock at IIT Bombay's backing out of the smog tower project and said this was "not expected of such institutions.
It had said it was "not at all happy with the state of affairs" of the project for installing the smog tower and non-compliance with its order would be "taken seriously". In its order on January 13 this year, the top court had said that smog tower be installed at Anand Vihar and the project be completed within three months.
The apex court had also directed use of anti-smog guns in Delhi and national capital region (NCR) for large construction sites, road construction stretches, mining activities, large parking sites on unpaved areas and during large public gatherings, demolition activities etc. The top court had passed these directives while hearing the matter relating to air pollution in the Delhi-NCR.
Earlier, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Central Pollution Control Board had filed an affidavit in the top court and claimed that the MoU was not finalised as IIT Bombay has not agreed to take responsibility of overall coordination of project and verification of works to be carried out by Tata Projects Limited, which has been involved by IIT Bombay for construction, operation and maintenance of smog tower. It had said that funds amounting to Rs 18.52 crore have been sanctioned for the project.