New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal today slammed the Delhi government for not introducing destination buses to help improve air quality in the national capital.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Chief Secretary of Delhi government to show cause why point-to-point bus services have not started till date despite its order last year.

“Do you (Delhi government) know the state of affairs in Delhi? Children are not able to breathe fresh air and are going to hospitals every week. This is what you want for your children?

“Why have you not started destination buses despite our specific orders? The Chief Secretary of Delhi is directed to submit as to why destination buses in terms of our orders have not been introduced so far,” the bench also comprising Justice R S Rathore said.

Destination buses are the ones which ply from one point to another without any halts in between the journey.

The green panel lambasted the Delhi government after its counsel submitted that there was shortage of buses and said, “It is evident that large number of buses are standing along Yamuna at the depot. We see no reason why state authorities have not implemented our order so far.”

The green panel said introduction of destination buses would facilitate an individual to opt for such a service rather than driving a car alone on highly congested roads.

It also said that such point to point buses would result in reducing jams as a large number of people from places like Dwarka and Rohini come to offices in Central Delhi.

“These buses would provide an economical alternative to people to avoid use of private cars and will have direct benefits to reduce congestion and improve the ambient air quality,” the bench said.

The mater is now listed for next hearing on April 29.

During the last hearing the NGT had said, “The traffic on roads of Delhi needs to be reduced by taking various measures that have already been directed to be taken by various authorities including introduction of destination buses which could certainly help particularly the middle class and single driver from opting for destination buses rather than driving a car individually on highly congested roads of Delhi.”

It had also asked the AAP government to provide incentives to those using public transport in order to encourage them.

It had earlier directed the Delhi government to convene a meeting of authorities concerned and come up with solutions to tackle the worsening air quality in the city after being told that the odd-even scheme has not helped in curbing pollution.

The NGT was hearing a petition filed by scientist Mahendra Pandey, who has sought independent monitoring of air quality index and also claiming that vehicular emission was not a major contributing factor to pollution.