Centre unwilling to ask Delhi staff to work from home, advocates for carpooling

  • In an affidavit, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the number of vehicles used by the Central government employees is a minuscule fraction of the total vehicles in Delhi.
Smog and pollution on Tilak Marg, near Supreme Court in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
Smog and pollution on Tilak Marg, near Supreme Court in New Delhi.(Arvind Yadav/ Hindustan Times)
Published on Nov 17, 2021 10:39 AM IST
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By | Written by Kunal Gaurav

The Central government has expressed unwillingness before the Supreme Court to ask its employees in Delhi to work from home, instead advising them to opt for carpooling in an effort to control the air pollution in the national capital region. In an affidavit, the Centre told the apex court that the number of vehicles used by the Central government employees is a minuscule fraction of the total vehicles in Delhi, adding that the action would not make much impact towards improving the air quality.

The government also pointed out the directives issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management late Tuesday for Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas. The latest directive by CAQM has widened the curb across NCR cities, including the ban on entry of trucks in Delhi till November 21 except those carrying essential commodities.

The air quality in Delhi continued to be in the 'very poor' category for the fourth consecutive day as the Air Quality Index (AQI) was recorded at 379 on Wednesday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the court about the direction issued by CAQM to Delhi and the other NCR States, asking them to ensure that all industries having gas connectivity run only on gas as fuel failing which the industry has to be close. Mehta said that industries using unapproved fuels should be closed with immediate effect and industries having gas connectivity should be immediately shifted to gas.

In a series of instructions, the CAQM advised NCR state governments to allow at least 50% of staff to work from home. It has also extended the ban on construction and demolition activities to all cities in the NCR.

For field level implementation of the directions issued by the CAQM, the commission has directed five states to submit a compliance report before November 22. The directions will be closely monitored by the chief secretary of NCR states, GNCTD on a regular basis, as per the official release.

(With inputs from agencies)

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