Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (File pic)
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (File pic)

National clean air programme should have measures to penalise non-implementers: Shashi Tharoor

ANI | Updated: Nov 21, 2019 19:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 21 (ANI): Congress member Shashi Tharoor on Thursday said that the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched by the government does not have legal measures "to penalise non-implementers" and said there was a need to bring a legislation to give the programme force of law.
Participating in the debate on air pollution in the Lok Sabha, Tharoor called for an action plan, which is courageous, ambitious, technology-based, collaborative and has tough deadlines.
Terming pollution as a "national crisis", he said the nation cannot just be concerned about it after Diwali and winter months.
Tharoor said he has been holding consultations with experts and civil society members about the toxic air quality.
The Congress leader said pollution was a national health issue and apart from huge economic cost, the adverse impact on the quality of life was incalculable.
He said when he was a student in Delhi, September to February was the best months "but now they are the worst."
The Congress member said a foreign journalist who left Delhi owing to pollution had called it "dire pediatric respiratory crisis."
"This (pollution) makes many foreigners not come to the country," he said.
Tharoor said a study had shown that in school children of Delhi in the age group of 4 to 17, key indicators of lung functions were twice to four times worse than children in a better environment and these changes were not reversible.
He also cited an instance of a diplomat, who was a non-smoker and had served in Delhi, who was asked by a doctor about how many cigarettes he smoked in a day.
He said there should have been more public consultation while formulating policies to fight pollution.
"In the NCAP, there are no legal measures to penalise non-implementers. If there is NCAP Act, it should have a force of law," he said.
Tharoor took a dig at the government and said the NCAP was launched towards the end of the tenure of the previous BJP-led government.
He said there was a need to learn from China in the way it has tackled pollution and Beijing no longer competes with Delhi for the worst headlines on pollution.
He said it was the first time that the House was discussing the issue and it reflected seriousness to tackle the issue. (ANI)