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Delhi pollution Highlights: Ban on trucks extended, Haryana takes action against 300 farmers over stubble burning

Delhi battled with severe air pollution on Tuesday as well. The Air Quality Index improved to an average reading of 308, even as the Delhi government extended the ban on entry of trucks. Here are the live updates of the situation in the National Capital Region.

delhi Updated: Nov 14, 2017 22:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi pollution,Delhi smog,live updates
Thick smog seen near Raisina Hill in New Delhi. The city has seen a spike in pollution levels.(AFP)

The toxic smog continued to envelope the national capital on Tuesday morning, with reduced visibility in some areas that led to cancellation of many trains. The Air Quality Index (AQI) improved to an average reading of 308, even as the city government extended the ban on the entry of trucks till further orders.

Officials said light rain is expected on Wednesday, which might intensify the fog but could clear the smog.

Delhi has been experiencing dense smog for about a week, forcing the authorities to enforce emergency measures in the National Capital Region.

Here are the highlights:

9.37pm: Gadkari says electric transportation could ease the situation in Delhi a bit like Nagpur which has 200 electric taxis that are going to swell to 1,000 next month.

9.35pm: Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari urges farmers to produce ethanol and biofuel from stubble instead of burning them. These can fuel vehicles including motorbikes on flex engines that will be launched shortly. “A tonne of rice straw can produce 430 litres of ethanol,” he says.

9.33pm: “50% pollution from automobiles in Delhi will be removed after these projects as vehicles from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh will not be required to enter Delhi,” says Gadkari.

9.30pm: Eastern Peripheral Expressway that will be completed by January and the Delhi-Meerut Expressway project and other projects worth Rs 40,000 crore to decongest Delhi will contribute significantly in curbing pollution, says Gadkari.

9.27pm: Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari says he has written to environment minister Harsh Vardhan to look into Delhi’s pollution problem and get it studied by experts including international consultants.

9.25pm: “If vehicles are stopped or converted into electricity, still there is no guarantee that the pollution will stop completely. Climatic changes are also behind it and there is need of a holistic approach,” says road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

9.22pm: “Delhi pollution is not related to only automobile pollution. It is not such a case that the problem of pollution will be solved if odd even is introduced,” says road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

9.20pm: Union minister Nitin Gadkari says the odd-even car rationing scheme or a ban on automobiles are no solutions to Delhi’s pollution problem.

9.15pm: “This year when the people are suffering badly and an accumulated fund of Rs 775 crore lies at its disposal, the Kejriwal government has not found it worth spending on improving the environment,” says Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.

9.12pm: The AAP government collected Rs 775 crore as environmental cess in the last three years, says Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari.

9.10pm: The BJP’s Delhi unit accuses the AAP government of failing to act on environment protection despite having “ample” resources, asks it to share details of spending of the environmental cess.

9.08pm: Delhi government notification asks Delhi Traffic Police and the Municipal Corporations of Delhi to prohibit the entry of heavy and medium goods vehicles, except those carrying essential commodities, in the national capital.

9.06pm: Delhi government says the ban on the entry of trucks in the national capital has been extended till further orders due to the fluctuating levels of air pollution.

9.04pm: “We are not relaxing anything as of now. The CPCB task force will meet tomorrow (November 15) and the day after (November 16) and suggest future course of action as drizzle is expected,” says CPCB member secretary A Sudhakar.

9.02pm: Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) member secretary A Sudhakar says Delhi’s air quality may further improve on Wednesday as light rains are expected, which will help in flushing suspended particulates away.

9.00pm: Delhi HC says stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana alone cannot be blamed for the poor air quality in the national capital.

8.58pm: Delhi HC tells AAP government: “Entire city is unable to breathe. Look at your concern in the areas of education and health facility. We want the same for public transport.”

8.56pm: “All the authorities have opined that the major cause for air pollution was vehicles. So the Delhi government should make an effort on war-footing to bring in more buses. Public life has to be protected as Delhi is unable to breathe,” says Delhi HC.

8.54pm: Delhi HC says if the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme is to benefit the people, there is a need for a better public transport facility.

8.52pm: Delhi High Court says there is a “grave urgency” for more buses in the city and the AAP government needs to address it on a “war-footing”.

8.50pm: The IMD has forecast that weather conditions in Delhi NCR are likely to become more favourable for dispersal of pollutants over the next 2-3 days. “Hence, air quality is expected to improve further,” says environment minister Harsh Vardhan.

8.48pm: Environment minister Harsh Vardhan appreciates the discipline shown by the public. He says the improvement in the air quality was achieved largely due to efforts of various government agencies and voluntary participation by the public.

8.45pm: Environment minister Harsh Vardhan says all government agencies need to maintain the highest level of alertness and continue their efforts to check pollution.

8.42pm: Union environment ministry asks all state pollution control boards to intensify action against violators, especially in the industrial and construction sectors, to curb air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

8.40pm: Haryana environment minister Vipul Goel appeals to farmers not to burn crop residue. “For this, the government is providing them equipment on subsidy basis. The fertility of land is also decreasing because of the burning of crop residues as this would cause loss to farmers in the coming days,” he says.

8.35pm: Action taken against 369 farmers in Fatehabad, against 79 in Hisar, 54 in Jind, 138 in Kaithal, 357 in Karnal, 184 in Kurukshetra, 6 in Panchkula, 40 in Panipat and 301 in Sirsa, says minister Vipul Goel.

8.30pm: Haryana minister Vipul Goel says even in Delhi, crop residues were being burnt by farmers, but the Delhi government has not taken any action.

8.25pm: Haryana environment minister Vipul Goel says action is being taken against farmers indulging in stubble burning, and at the same time, they are also being sensitised not to burn the stubble.

8.22pm: In view of the National Green Tribunal orders, the Haryana government is quite serious in dealing with the issue of pollution, says minister Vipul Goel.

8.20pm: In Haryana, cases have been registered against 244 farmers and fines of up to Rs 18.65 lakh have been recovered from 695 farmers, says minister Goel.

8.18pm: The Haryana State Pollution Control Board acted against 1,586 farmers across the state to curb air pollution due to stubble burning, the state’s environment minister Vipul Goel says in Chandigarh.

8.15pm: Haryana environment minister Vipul Goel hits out at Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, saying he has not taken any such steps but was doing politics in the name of smog and pollution in the capital.

8.08pm: “Since the winds are coming from Punjab and Haryana with good speed, the pollutant there would first settle due to rains, so the winds entering Delhi would be pure and then speed would disperse the smog here,” says Charan Singh of IMD.

8.06pm: Charan Singh, chief weather forecast officer at IMD, says there are “fair chances of drizzling tonight (Tuesday) or early morning on Wednesday, November 15 in parts of Haryana and Punjab.

8.03pm: “The major reason for the emergency situation in Delhi was stubble burning. The winds coming from Punjab were carrying pollutants and then there was moisture coming from the east. Both winds collided at low height in Delhi causing smog. We do not see improvement,” says Usman Naseem.

8.00pm: “Delhi is out of emergency but not out of danger. In the coming days by November 16 and 17, the conditions are expected to get better. Unfortunately we are happy even though the air quality is very poor. In many countries there is an emergency-like condition at this air quality which we are cherishing as improvement,” says Usman Naseem, researcher at Centre for Science and Environment and member of the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).

7.31pm: Ban on entry of trucks in Delhi, except those carrying essential goods, extended till further orders due to pollution levels: Delhi govt official.

7.25pm: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh to ANI: “I fail to understand why the Delhi chief minister is trying to force his hand, knowing well that any such discussion would be meaningless and futile.”

7.15pm: According to latest AQI data, Haryana’s Vikas Sadan Gurugram is at 262, Sector16A Faridabad at 240, both fall in ‘Very Unhealthy’ category in Air Quality Index.

7.07pm: The latest AQI data for Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh is at 262, Dwarka at 244, ITO at 244,Anand Vihar at 287; all fall in ‘Very unhealthy’ category in Air Quality Index.

5.55pm: Delhi government requests NGT to direct neighbouring states to also implement odd-even scheme.

5.52pm: Delhi government requests NGT to exempt two-wheelers and women drivers for one year or till 2,000 additional buses are engaged.

5.50pm: Delhi government files fresh review petition before NGT in connection with odd-even policy: ANI

4.50pm: The Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi improves to an average reading of 308, according to CPCB data. However, even at this level, the air quality remains “very poor”.

4.49pm: “If electric bus system is introduced in Delhi, it will reduce pollution. Soon, bio-ethanol-based bikes are going to be launched which use fuel generated from sugarcane husk. This will not only lead to reduction in pollution levels but also help our farmers who are growing sugarcane,” says Gadkari.

4.48pm: Union government looking at introducing electric taxis and buses, bio-ethanol, methanol and other technologies to reduce pollution, says road transport minister Nitin Gadkari.

4.46pm: The government is working on use of alternative and clean fuels, in place of diesel and petrol, as another way of reducing vehicular pollution, says Gadkari.

4.45pm: Road transport ministry has formulated a Rs 40,000 crore scheme to ease traffic congestion in Delhi which would also bring down pollution levels as “vehicles won’t be stuck in traffic burning extra fuel”, says Gadkari.

4.42pm: Bypass roads, and upgrading of NH-24 into a 14-lane national highway will reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi by 50%, says Gadkari.

4.40pm: Gadkari says once the easterly and westerly bypass roads become operational, vehicles destined for other places near Delhi won’t have to enter the city. “This would bring huge relief to the people of Delhi from vehicular pollution,” he says.

4.35pm: Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari says that to tackle the rising pollution levels in Delhi, traffic not destined for the capital should be diverted to cut congestion on the city roads.

3.50pm: “The smog and pollutant levels will drop in Delhi because of the wind speed generated by the gathering weather system in Jammu and Kashmir,” says Sonam Lotus, director of the Met department in Srinagar.

3.48pm: “The balancing of the weather system in the coming days in Jammu and Kashmir will definitely help in decreasing the pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas as the system is moving westwards from the state,” says Sonam Lotus, director of the Met department in Srinagar.

3.45pm: Rain and snowfall forecast in Jammu and Kashmir will help reduce the smog and pollution levels in Delhi and its adjoining areas, the regional Met office in Srinagar says.

3.40pm: Aam Aadmi Party says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been following up with Punjab and Haryana CMs regarding the smog issue. “Collective efforts are needed to resolve this grave issue,” AAP posts on Twitter.

3.35pm: BJP Kisan Morcha president Virendra Singh says the party is running a campaign to encourage farmers not to burn paddy stubble as it not only caused air pollution but also reduced nutrients in the fields.

1.20pm: “Industries involved in essential commodities have been exempted to carry on their activity.We also direct industries whose emissions are limited in parameters be allowed to operate subject to verification,” says NGT.

1.10pm: NGT to Delhi govt: “Don’t gift infected lungs to children. They have to wear masks to school. What constitutes a health emergency according to you? Measures should be applied automatically by govt after dangerous levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 persist for more than 48 hours.”

12.50pm: Delhi govt withdraws its petition for modifications. NGT suggested Delhi govt take care of the logical explanations for odd-even exemptions when they approach NGT again

12.40pm: NGT to Delhi government: When reports have stated that two-wheelers are more polluting than four-wheelers, why do you intend to give arbitrary exemptions? Is this a joke? What does one stand to gain from this?

12.30pm: Why don’t you take positive steps? Why should we exempt anybody? If they (two-wheelers) are not polluting, we will allow them: NGT tells Delhi government .

12.20pm: NGT asks Delhi Govt as to why it can’t run ladies only buses to solve the problem of transport during odd-even scheme.

12.10pm: If you show us you sprinkled water in a proper way and pollution doesn’t come down, we will withdraw that order (of sprinkling): NGT tells Delhi government

12pm: Kejriwal asks Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to join the meeting with Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday.

11.40am: Terming the air quality in the national capital as poor and unsafe, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) urged the Delhi High Court on Tuesday to pass directions to postpone the Delhi Half Marathon.

11.20am: HC issues notice to Delhi govt, DPCC, police and organiser of Delhi Half Marathon on IMA plea to postpone event in view of poor air quality.

11am: “The minimum temperature was recorded at 14.6 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal,” a MeT department official said.

9.55am: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that he would be meeting the Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday.

9.45am: Train operations were still affected. Around 10 inbound trains were cancelled, 34 rescheduled, and 73 trains were delayed.


8.30am: Areas close to the Delhi Technical University were the most polluted with a severe AQI of 492. The primary pollutant here was PM2.5.

8.20am: Dilshad Garden had the cleanest air, with an AQI of 312.

8am: The EPCA, a Supreme Court-appointed panel to monitor pollution in Delhi-NCR, has suggested banning plying of diesel vehicles and shutting down thermal power plants when pollution breaches ‘emergency’ levels as a part of its new recommendations to strengthen the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 08:54 IST