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MCDs get central funds to combat air pollution, will spend it on green drive

The union ministry for housing and urban affairs allocated Rs 35 crore each to the north, south and east Delhi municipal corporations. Civic officials said the fund would be used to buy water sprinklers, plant saplings and shrubs and build vertical gardens in markets, roundabouts, roads and schools.

delhi Updated: Sep 11, 2018 07:13 IST
Vibha Sharma
Vibha Sharma
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
MCD,central funds,air pollution
Air pollution is a major problem in the Capital in winter. In the past, alarming levels of pollution forced the government to ban construction activities, shut schools and implement the odd-even car rationing policy to bring down pollution levels. (Burhaan Kinu/HT File Photo)

To combat Delhi’s air pollution, the union ministry for housing and urban affairs has allocated a fund of Rs 35 crore each to the north, south and east Delhi municipal corporations.

Civic body officials said the fund — provided under the Centre’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan — would be used to buy water sprinklers, plant saplings and shrubs and build vertical gardens in markets, roundabouts, roads and schools.

Air pollution is a major problem in the Capital in winter. In the past, alarming levels of pollution forced the government to ban construction activities, shut schools and implement the odd-even car rationing policy to bring down pollution levels.

Senior municipal corporation officer said the project would be in addition to the annual plantation drive of the state government and civic bodies to increase Delhi’s green cover.

“The yearly plantation drive is mainly carried out in parks, gardens and forest areas but in this project, we will plant saplings on roadsides, barren land and uncovered patches. Through greenery, we need to cover up dusty patches because Delhi’s main problem is the increasing PM 2.5 and 10 levels, which is a result of dust,” a senior official of SDMC’s horticulture department said.

Expert and councillors said the ‘ground covering plants’ may help in curbing air pollution but spending money on water sprinklers is a wasteful exercise.

Padma Dwivedi, an environment activist, said, “ Civic agencies should install grass pavers as they help in a plant’s growth but spending money on sprinklers or other such machines should be avoided as they can’t be a long-term solution.”

Anil Lakra, leader of opposition and Aam Aadmi Party councillor in North Corporation said, “The agencies claim to have executed some of the works under the project but I have failed to see any changes on ground. I am still waiting for details of these works.”

The south corporation has set a target to plant 2,508 trees near the Sarita Vihar flyover and other areas in their jurisdiction. “We also plan to develop vertical gardens at 150 pillars across 11 flyovers,” said a SDMC official on the condition of anonymity.

They said they would invite suggestions from RWAs.

Veena Virmani, standing committee chairman, North Corporation said, “We received Rs 22 crore from the Centre and are preparing a detail plan to implement the project. We are focussing on planting climbers at schools, flyover and markets in our area.”

The east corporation said they would also focus on climbers. “We will spend around Rs 2.86 crore on climbers and Rs 84 lakh for buying tractors with sprinklers. Some of work has already been done,”said Pradeep Khandelwal, chief engineer, EDMC.

First Published: Sep 11, 2018 02:10 IST