To prevent a repeat of the thick smog that had engulfed the national Capital till recently, the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana have agreed to work together and chalk out a plan to reduce pollution levels.
At a meeting with the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), officials from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana decided to jointly crack down on polluting vehicles entering Delhi from the neighbouring states.
The EPCA asked Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to enforce the ban on burning of farm waste, which the Delhi government had claimed added to the smog.
"Farmers need to be given incentives to buy technology that helps them remove or use farm straw left after harvest instead of burning it. Both Punjab and Haryana will execute plans for power generation and bio-methanation using left-over rice/ paddy straw in the next two years. We will monitor the progress on the norms after every six months," said Bhure Lal, chairman of EPCA.
The Delhi government had on Friday said burning leaves and garbage in the city would invite strict penalty.
Concerned over the smog cover, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit had decided to seek intervention of the Union environment ministry to direct the neighbouring states to refrain their farmers from burning paddy stubbles.
In another meeting with environment and transport department officials of the National Capital Region, directions were issued that vehicles be monitored at the five entry points of Delhi and EPCA members said they will push for stringent monitoring of pollution norms across the states.
"Stringent action will be taken on gross polluting vehicles. Officials of transport department of Delhi and respective states will organise inspection at five border points - NH-8 border, NH-24 border, Singhu Border, Tikri Border and Badarpur Border to stop any vehicle emitting dark smoke from entering or exiting the border and action will be taken against the defaulters," added Lal.
Officials of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana State Pollution Control Board looking after Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad regions have been asked to take adequate measures towards enforcement of pollution norms by industries and ban on garbage and leaf burning.