Primary schools to reopen from Nov 9 as air pollution in Delhi reduces, says environment minister | The Financial Express

Primary schools to reopen from Nov 9 as air pollution in Delhi reduces, says environment minister

School principals have welcomed the Delhi government’s decision to restart primary classes from Wednesday though environmentalists warned against “knee-jerk reactions”.

Primary schools to reopen from Nov 9 as air pollution in Delhi reduces, says environment minister
The decision has been taken in view of improvement in the city's air quality over the last two days.

Schools for primary classes in Delhi will reopen from November 9, the state government announced on Monday. It further revoked the order which directed 50% of its staff to work from home in view of increasing air pollution levels.

The decision has been taken in view of improvement in the city’s air quality over the last two days. However, plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in the national capital will remain banned under stage 3 of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai told a press conference.

The plan is a set of anti-air pollution measures followed in Delhi and its vicinity according to the severity of the situation.
The transport department, in an order, said the vehicles found plying in violation of the rule will be prosecuted under the Motor Vehicles Act, which could invite a fine of Rs 20,000.

Vehicles deployed for emergency services, and government and election-related work are exempted. “There has been a rapid improvement in the air pollution situation in Delhi and farm fires have also reduced. Therefore, it has been decided to reopen primary schools from November 9 and revoke the order asking 50 per cent of the government staff to work from home,” the minister said.

School principals have welcomed the Delhi government’s decision to restart primary classes from Wednesday though environmentalists warned against “knee-jerk reactions”.

“The overall education system has already been significantly disrupted during the (COVID-19) pandemic in which the country witnessed long closure of schools. Shifting from offline to online mode was well adopted by teachers and students. But the situation took a toll on the mental well-being of students,” Principal of the Modern Public School in Shalimar Bagh, Alka Kapur, said.

Minister Rai said curbs under stage 3 of GRAP will remain in force. Private construction and demolition will remain banned in Delhi, he said.

Rai added that 500 additional buses will be run in the capital under the “Paryavaran Bus Sewa” campaign to bolster public transport.

With air pollution ameliorating in Delhi, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Sunday directed authorities to lift the ban on plying of non-BS VI diesel light motor vehicles in the region and the entry of trucks into the national capital imposed under the stage 4 of the GRAP.

It had also banned construction work in public projects such as highways, flyovers, power transmission, and pipelines in Delhi-NCR. The CAQM order recommending the restrictions was issued on Thursday.

Delhi recorded its air quality in the very poor category for the third consecutive day on Monday, but it is likely to deteriorate further in the coming days due to unhelpful meteorological conditions, forecasting agencies said.

With inputs from PTI

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First published on: 08-11-2022 at 09:38 IST