New Delhi, Mar 27 (IANS): The Delhi High Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre on a petition seeking that public and private oil companies be directed to make financial contributions to the Delhi-NCR public transportation system in order to make up for the environmental harm caused by fossil fuels.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Datta issued notice on Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO ‘Tsunami on Road’, seeking directions to oil companies to contribute funds under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
The bench has sought responses from the Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Road Transport and Highways, and Environment and Forest.
The government should be directed to constitute a committee of technical and environmental experts to explore the public transportation systems in and around the national capital and offer recommendations, the PIL sought.
As per the NGO, the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ 2018 report accepted that the transportation sector is the main source of PM2.5 (41 per cent) emission, and that vehicular pollution is a significant and particularly dangerous pollutant to human health.
That is why oil companies have bigger social responsibility or commitment to reduce vehicular pollution, it said.
“A better public transport system is a dire need for a heavily polluted city like Delhi. This is a universally accepted fact worldwide that mass public transport methods are the most important and cost-effective means for reducing air pollution, and traffic congestion, especially in 50 lakhs plus cities. In Delhi with a population of 1.7 crore, it is expected that 75-85 per cent of the public should use it if congestion is to be avoided,” the PIL said.
It also stated that environment, health, and education are the three most crucial areas that CSR must address according to international standards.
It was contended that the oil corporations are among the top profit-making companies in the country, with the profit of only three of them totaling about Rs one lakh crore, and that under the Corporate Social Responsibility Policy Guidelines, 2014, a company must spend at least 2 per cent of its revenues on CSR.