States need more rights to combat pollution: Bihar Deputy CM

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New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi on Monday said that states need more rights to combat pollution and to be able to amend legislations like the Motor Vehicles Act which discards automobiles that are over 15 years old.

Speaking at a ministerial conference to mark the World Environment Day in the presence of Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, the BJP leader also pointed out several flaws and loopholes in the policies and working of the ministry leading to the failure of anti-pollution drives.

“States must have rights to amend the motor vehicle act, so that we, like Delhi, can also bar over 15-year-old vehicles from plying on the roads,” he said.

“Why can’t we have a blanket ban on the manufacture of plastic below 50 microns? In Bihar, we banned it but then since its manufacturing was on in the neighbouring states, the entire drive collapsed.”

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Asking the Enivronment Ministry to speed up the notification of the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) Act so that over Rs 50,000 crore meant for nature conservation could be released.

Pointing out to a recent WHO report that placed 10 Indians cities among the top polluted, he urged the ministry to place Patna, Muzaffarpur and Gaya under the non-attainment cities of the government’s proposed National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for continuous monitoring.

“Even as they were in the WHO polluted list, I don’t understand why they were not listed under top non-attainment cities of the proposed NCAP?” he asked.

Harsh Vardhan replied this must have happened as the ministry does not abide by WHO reports.

The Bihar minister further suggested the Centre to simplify the land diversion rules and make the ministry’s website more “user friendly”.

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–IANS

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