Private construction banned in Delhi-NCR

Updated on Dec 05, 2022 07:17 AM IST

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the capital was 407 on Sunday, according to the 4pm national bulletin of the Central Pollution Control Board, touching the “severe” category for the first time in a month.

Under Stage III of Grap, states also have the option to enforce a ban on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles plying on the roads, which was enforced the last time Delhi’s air went into the “severe” category. (Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)
Under Stage III of Grap, states also have the option to enforce a ban on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles plying on the roads, which was enforced the last time Delhi’s air went into the “severe” category. (Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

Air pollution in Delhi increased significantly on Sunday, prompting the Commission for Air Quality Management to invoke emergency measures that include a ban on all private construction activity. State governments in the national capital region may also consider banning vehicles that do not conform to latest emission norms, officials said.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) in the capital was 407 on Sunday, according to the 4pm national bulletin of the Central Pollution Control Board, touching the “severe” category for the first time in a month.

The commission in an emergency meeting invoked measures under Stage III of the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) with immediate effect, which includes a ban on private construction activity across the national capital region, closure of all brick kilns and hot mix plants not operating on clean fuels, closure of all stone crushers in NCR, and a ban on mining and its associated activities.

Under Stage III of Grap, states also have the option to enforce a ban on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles plying on the roads, which was enforced the last time Delhi’s air went into the “severe” category. Such a decision has not yet been taken, said an official of Delhi’s transport department. “Since it is an option for the states, we will decide on whether such vehicles need to be banned or not, based on the forecasts and the prevailing AQI. No meeting on this has been called yet,” the official said, asking not to be named.

Delhi’s AQI was in the “severe” category last on November 4. Sunday’s deterioration was the fourth time the Delhi air pollution became “severe” this winter. The previous three occasions were on November 1 (424), November 3 (450) and November 4 (450). The AQI on Saturday was 370, or “very poor”.

The pollution watchdog classifies an AQI between 0-50 as “good”, between 51 and 100 as “satisfactory”, between 101 and 200 as “moderate”, between 201 and 300 as “poor”, between 301 and 400 as “very poor” and over 400 as “severe”.

The deterioration had largely occurred due to calm conditions arising from a western disturbance, with wind speed expected to pick up once again from Monday, a CAQM official said. “The AQI should gradually improve and fall back to the ‘very poor’ category. However, this is a precautionary measure and further decisions and meetings can be held if the AQI improves in order to remove Stage III once again,” the official said, asking not to be named.

While Stage III bans construction and demolition activities, it exempts projects related to rail services and operations, metro projects, airport projects, projects related to national security or defence, projects of national importance and health care facilities. Linear projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, over bridges, power transmission, and pipeline laying are also allowed in addition to sanitation projects.

For private construction, non-polluting and non-dust-generating activities such as plumbing, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are permitted.

CAQM had lifted measures under its most stringent category, Stage IV, on November 6, three days after invoking those measures, owing to an improvement in AQI. It then lifted Stage III measures on November 14, after the AQI improved to “poor”. Delhi has been enjoying a relatively cleaner spell of air since then.

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