The President of India, on October 28, assented to an ordinance brought by the Centre for the constitution of a 17-member commission for air quality management which will replace Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA). The commission will be responsible for air quality management, pollution prevention & control in Delhi NCR and adjoining areas.
The proposed commission will replace EPCA which was formed by the Supreme Court of India and named as the apex monitoring body to monitor and act against pollution and other related issues. The commission will comprise of 17 members which will include representatives from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The commission will be headed by a chairperson of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary appointed by the Centre. Moreover, it will include the Secretary Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and five other Secretary or Chief Secretary level government officials as ex-officio members.
Further, the proposed commission will have three sub-committees, one for monitoring and identification of problematic areas, another for enforcement of actions and safety measures, and the third one for research and development work.
The Centre has given the commission the executive powers to take action against defaulters found violating the directions set by it to curb the pollution. Moreover, the power to issue directions to abate pollution crisis, take up matters suo moto following the complaints from the people, stop power supply or take strict actions against any entity or industry, rets with the commission. And, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) will be applied to anyone restricting the commission from performing its duties.