Parliament has passed the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021 with the Rajya Sabha approving it today amid din. The Lok Sabha has already cleared the Bill. The Bill provides for the constitution of a Commission for better co-ordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems related to air quality in the NCR and adjoining areas.
Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have been defined as adjoining areas where any source of pollution may cause adverse impact on air quality in the NCR. Contravention of provisions of the Bill will be punishable with imprisonment of up to five years, or fine of up to one crore rupees, or both.
The Bill excludes farmers from the scope of these penalties. Speaking on the Bill, Environment and Forest Minister Bhupender Yadav said the Centre is committed for environment protection. Mr. Yadav clarified the farmers will not be penalised under this Bill. He also said there will be a representative from the agriculture sector in the Air Quality Commission. The Bill was passed after a brief discussion amid continuous protest by the opposition parties.
Participating in the discussion, Deependra Hooda of Congress objected to some provisions of the bill. Prasanna Acharya of BJD supported the Bill. Priyanka Chaturvedi of Shiv Sena raised the issue of sexual assault and killing of a Dalit girl in Delhi. Vandana Chavan of NCP, Manoj Jha of RJD, K R Suresh Reddy of TRS and others participated in the discussion.