Thursday, 20 January 2022

School and college shut-in NCR and construction to stop till 21st November

School and college shut-in NCR and construction to stop till 21st November

The CAQM (Commission for Air Quality Management) in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas Tuesday directed closing of all educational institutions, including colleges and schools, till further notice, a stop on all construction activities till 21st November as well as work from home for 50 percent staff in government offices till 21st November, to restriction the decline air quality in Delhi-NCR region.

Trucks and Tempo other than those carrying essential supplies will not be allowed entry into Delhi till 21st November, and this curb may be increased depending on the situation and conditions.

The CAQM also commands its five member states Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi, to “encourage’’ work from home for 50 percent of staff in all private establishments that fall in the NCR till 21st November.

All construction will be halting till then, except work related to Metro, the Railways, bus terminals, the airport, and defense-related projects. Six of the thermal plants within a radius of 300-km to Delhi will also be shut.

The order came late Tuesday night after an emergency meeting was held on the demands of the SC. The meeting was taken part by members of the Commission, additional chief secretaries, chief secretaries, and principal secretaries of the concerned departments, such as urban development and transport.

School and college shut in NCR and construction to stop till 21st November 1unsplash image

Read: School to shut and Work from home for govt employee: Delhi CM on a 1-week action plan

The CAQM send out these directions after advice from IMD, which has forecast that air quality in the Delhi-NCR area is likely to remain poor and even reduce into the severe category over the next few days, improving after 21st November. Tuesday, the Capital’s air quality dropped back into the ‘severe’ category (AQI level 403).

The Commission directed that 11 thermal power plants operating within a 300-km radius of Delhi, only five Panipat TPS HPGCL, Talwandi Sabo Mansa Jhajjar TPS HPGCL, Nabha Power Ltd Rajpura, and Mahatma Gandhi NTPC will be allowed to operate. The rest are to remain shut till 30th November. The Ministry of Power has said that the load needed from the closure will be supplied from power plants beyond the 300-km range.

Dust suppressants, water sprinkling, and anti-smog guns are to be deployed a day thrice in hotspots, the CAQM noted, and heavy penalties are imposed on parties collecting construction material and waste on roads. The CAQM has banned the use of diesel generator sets except in emergencies cases.

At the meeting, sources also said a weekend lockdown was possible in the forum, but no such decision was announced.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said after the meeting.

“On behalf to Delhi citizen, we suggest that work from home be execute, and all construction work and industries in the Delhi-NCR region be shut for the meantime. The other states presented their proposals too, we are awaiting the minutes of the meeting. We will proceed after receiving the Commission’s decision. We hope that the meeting will result in a joint action plan for reducing pollution levels,”

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the Delhi government was in the process of hiring 1,000 private buses for one month to “curb vehicular pollution.” The government of Delhi has also sent a proposal to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) to allow standing passengers in buses and the Delhi Metro. While buses and metro are permitted to function at 100% capacity, standing passengers are not permitted as per DDMA rules.

The CAQM is an executive body set up to oversee measures to curb air pollution in the NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The Union Environment Ministry set it up.

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