In a new set of directions to prevent further deterioration of air quality in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), the Centre’s air quality panel on Friday ordered shutting of educational institutions, allowing only online mode of education.
The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) also directed that industrial operations and processes in NCR, not running on Piped Natural Gas or other cleaner fuels, shall be allowed to operate only up to eight hours a day from Monday to Friday and shall not be allowed to run on weekends.
“All schools, colleges and educational institutions in the NCR shall remain closed, allowing only online mode of education, except for the purpose of conduct of examinations and laboratory practical,” the commission said.
It also said its earlier directions on industries shall continue. According to these directions, all industries in NCR, still using unapproved fuels, shall be closed by the respective governments with immediate effect. Also the NCR states and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) shall enforce a strict ban on use of diesel generators, except for emergency services.
In its new directions, the commission also stopped the entry of trucks in Delhi, except the electric ones and those running on Compressed Natural Gas, besides trucks carrying essential commodities.
The commission directed that the chief secretaries of the respective states and the Delhi government shall ensure implementation of these directions.
“Strict enforcement of these directions as also the directions/orders issued by the commission from time to time since its inception shall be ensured by the respective agencies and implementation, compliance of the same shall be monitored by the chief secretaries of the respective state/GNCTD,” the commission’s order stated.
“In view of the compelling need to prevent further deterioration of environment and towards improvement of air quality in Delhi and NCR, the commission, in exercise of its powers conferred upon it (by)… the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021, directs that these measures shall be implemented with strict force with immediate effect, until further orders,” it read.
The CAQM, an executive body set up by the Ministry of Environment earlier this year to oversee measures to curb air pollution in the NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, also constituted task forces for each of these states to implement, enforce, monitor and report compliance status of its orders.