Air pollution: Delhi lifts ban on construction; call on school reopening on November 24

By: |
November 22, 2021 9:32 PM

The Delhi government had on Sunday night extended the ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items and work-from-home for its employees till November 26 to combat air pollution and minimise its health effects.

The Delhi government on Monday lifted the ban on construction and demolition activities in the city in view of an improvement in air quality and the inconvenience caused to workers, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said. He also said the government will take a call on reopening of schools, colleges and other educational institutions and work-from-home for government staff during a review meeting on Wednesday.

“We will discuss if CNG-operated trucks carrying non-essential items be allowed to enter Delhi if the situation continues to improve,” Rai said.

The Delhi government had on Sunday night extended the ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items and work-from-home for its employees till November 26 to combat air pollution and minimise its health effects.

“For some time, the air quality index remained above the 600-mark. However, stringent and comprehensive steps taken to contain air pollution and change in the wind pattern have resulted in a gradual decline in air pollution levels which had been increasing since Diwali,” the minister said.

“In view of the improvement in the air quality and inconvenience caused to workers, we have decided to lift the ban on construction and demolition activities. However, the government will continue to monitor the implementation of dust control measures… All agencies will have to strictly follow the 14-point guidelines issued against dust pollution,” he said at a press conference.

Following orders from the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), the Delhi government had on Wednesday issued 10 directions, including a ban on construction and demolition activities and work-from-home provision for its staff till Sunday.

All the 10-point action plan measures apart from construction ban will continue for now, Rai said. He said 585 monitoring teams have been working to ensure compliance of directions. “If any agency is found violating dust control norms, the government will stop work and impose a penalty without notice,” the environment minister warned.

He said the government has hired 1,000 private CNG-operated buses to augment public transport. These have ‘Prayavaran Bus Sewa’ written on them and have the same facilities as the DTC ones. He also said up to 17 people can travel standing in a bus and 30 per coach in Delhi Metro.

The drive to impound old petrol and diesel vehicles, and pollution-under-control certificate checking will continue to tackle vehicle pollution.

“Four thousand people have been fined Rs 10,000 each this month so far for violating pollution norms,” he said.
Strong surface winds gusting up to 25 kilometers per hour barrelled through the capital on Monday, dispersing pollutants and improving the air quality. Delhi’s 24-hour average Air Quality Index stood at 311, down from 349 on Sunday.

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