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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Delhi pollution ‘severe’, why was odd-even suspended, asks EPCA

cities Updated: Nov 12, 2019 22:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

New Delhi

The Delhi government will hold a review meeting on Wednesday to take a call on whether the ongoing odd-even road rationing scheme should be extended beyond November 15, in light of the city’s air quality again plunging to ‘severe’ on Tuesday.

“We will decide on what action to take after Wednesday’s review,” said Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot.

With the pollution levels again rising, the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority questioned the Delhi government’s decision to put the odd-even scheme, which is an emergency pollution control measure under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), on hold for Monday-Tuesday.

The Delhi government had put the odd-even road rationing plan on hold for Monday and Tuesday for the 550th birth anniversary celebration of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. Officials said that the move put in place after taking into consideration religious processions and gathering of devotees in gurudwaras across the city.

EPCA member, Sunita Narain, said that the odd-even arrangement should have been put in place on Tuesday, as the pollution levels breached the ‘severe plus’ mark.

“Odd-even is an emergency plan. When the air quality was in the severe zone, the road rationing plan should have been implemented. But it will be back tomorrow (Wednesday), which will have some impact on the vehicular emissions,” Narain said.

She said that on-ground enforcement of measures listed under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) had improved and there were massive efforts being made by all government agencies to control pollution levels in the national capital.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) led GRAP taskforce will conduct a review meeting to assess the pollution situation in the city on Wednesday.

The ban on polluting industries, hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi-NCR, which was in place till November 13, is likely to be extended during Wednesday’s review.

“We will see what recommendations CPCB makes after their taskforce meeting tomorrow (Wednesday),” Narain added.

Meanwhile, the government agencies in the city continued their crackdown on road dust and waste burning, especially targeting the 13 hotpots identified by the Delhi Pollution Control Board (DPCC).

A statement issued by the DPCC on Tuesday said that over the past week, the greenbelt in Okhla phase-II was cleared of encroachment and waste dumping. At Dwarka, on the Nallah Road (connecting Janakpuri with Dwarka sector-2), heaps of garbage had been cleared. Along empty stretches of Dwarka, a plantation drive was also carried out.