Delhi air pollution: Decision on odd-even drive today, ‘emergency’ measures in place | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Delhi air pollution: Decision on odd-even drive today, ‘emergency’ measures in place

The decision on odd-even road rationing in Delhi is expected after a meeting of government agencies with Environment Pollution Control Authority.

delhi Updated: Nov 09, 2017 12:04 IST
Ritam Halder
In a meeting attended by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal approved the EPCA’s decision to enforce measures enlisted under the “severe plus” or emergency category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).
In a meeting attended by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal approved the EPCA’s decision to enforce measures enlisted under the “severe plus” or emergency category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).(AP FILE)

As emergency measures were put in place in Delhi to tackle air pollution, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) said a decision on whether or not to implement the odd-even car rationing scheme will be taken on Thursday.

The decision is expected after a meeting of government agencies and members of EPCA — a Supreme Court appointed body to prevent and control air pollution — at 5pm on Thursday.

“We have already seen two days of severe category of pollution. If the AQI continues to remain in the severe category even on Thursday, we will recommend the EPCA to roll out the odd-even policy,” said A Sudhakar, member secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) which is the country’s apex pollution monitoring body and acts as a feeder to the EPCA.

The official said that the pollution control body had recommended making public transport free so that more Delhiites could take to mass transport rather than availing of individual cars and taxis.

In a meeting attended by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal approved the EPCA’s decision to enforce measures enlisted under the “severe plus” or emergency category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). But no decision was taken on the suggestion of “free public transport”.

“The CPCB task force has advised EPCA that given the prevailing air pollution emergency in the city, there is a need to take action listed in the severe plus category,” an EPCA member said.

Capital concern
Air quality dips, EPCA puts emergency measures in place
COMING INTO FORCE TODAY
  • Ban on entry of heavy goods vehicles and trucks, except those carrying essential commodities
  • Schools shut till Sunday
  • Ban on civil construction activities
  • MCDs, DDA, DMRC to enhance parking fees by 4 times
  • Stop use of firewood and coal in hotels and eateries
  • Delhi metro’s carrying capacity increased, 186 additional trains to be deployed
ACTIONS LIKELY NEXT
  • Odd-even scheme
  • Public transport to be made free of cost
  • Frequency of buses to be increased
WHY IT TOOK AGENCIES 24 HOURS TO ACT
Till Tuesday, agencies were dragging their feet citing bureaucratic procedures that needed to be followed. On Wednesday, L-G said it would tantamount to contempt of court if the actions prescribed by SC-appointed EPCA are not implemented.

On Wednesday, PM2.5 levels across all stations crossed the “severe plus” categories. In some stations such as Lodhi Road, Delhi University north campus and Mathura Road, the level of microfine particles rose to more than 20 times the safe limit.

The Delhi government issued an advisory for people to follow as the “severe” pollution levels persist.

“Do not burn dry leaves, crops residue, wood, coal, gobar, upla etc. Use carpooling and public transport, as much as possible. Walk or use non-polluting mode of transport for short distance.

“Avoid going outdoor during early morning and late evenings for walk or outdoor physical activity as the pollution levels are maximum during this time. Take extra precaution for high risk group like small children, elderly, pregnant women, asthma patients, patients with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases), patients of heart disease and stroke, diabetics, person with low immunity, N95 mask may be used if going outdoor during the peak pollution hours,” the appeal said.

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