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Delhi air pollution: NCR schools, colleges shut, construction at a halt till November 21



Delhi air pollution: NCR schools, colleges shut, construction at a halt till November 21

The Air Quality Management Committee (CAQM) of the National Capital Region and adjacent areas on Tuesday instructed to close all educational institutions, including schools and colleges, until further notice. All construction activities will be suspended until November 21, and work from home will continue until then. The government office will have 50% of the staff to curb the deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR. Except for trucks that deliver essential goods, trucks are not allowed to enter Delhi until November 21, and this restriction may be extended depending on the situation.

CAQM also instructed its five member states—Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan—to work from home for 50% of all private sector employees in the NCR by November 21. All construction will be suspended until then, except for projects related to railways, subways, airports, bus terminals and national defense. Six thermal power plants within a 300 km radius of Delhi will also be closed. After an emergency meeting was convened on the Supreme Court’s instructions, the instructions were issued on Tuesday evening.

Committee members, chief secretaries, supplementary chief secretaries and key secretaries from related departments such as transportation and urban development attended the meeting. CAQM issued these instructions after listening to the advice of the Indian Meteorological Department, which predicts that the air quality in Delhi-NCR is likely to remain poor in the next few days, or even slip into the severe category, and after November 21 it has been improved.

The air quality in the capital fell to the “severe” category (AQI level 403) on Tuesday. The committee directed that of the 11 thermal power plants operating within a 300 km radius of Delhi, only 5 — NTPC Jhajjar, Mahatma Gandhi TPS Jhajjar, Panipat TPS HPGCL, Nabha Power Ltd Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo Mansa — will be allowed to operate. The rest will be closed until November 30.

The Ministry of Electricity stated that the load demand caused by the shutdown will be provided by power plants outside a radius of 300 kilometers. CAQM pointed out that anti-smog guns, water sprays and dust suppressants will be deployed three times a day in hotspots, and heavy fines will be imposed on all parties who pile up construction materials and waste on roads. Except for emergencies, CAQM also prohibits the use of diesel generator sets.

At the meeting, sources said that the possibility of a weekend lockdown was also discussed, but no such decision was announced in the evening. “On behalf of the people of Delhi, we propose to implement work from home and close all construction projects and industries in the Delhi-NCR area. Other countries have also put forward their suggestions and we are waiting for the minutes of the meeting.

News Source : The Indian Express

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