From closure of schools and colleges to shutting down of power plants and curbing the entry into the Capital of vehicles from adjoining States, a slew of measures to cut down on air pollution levels during the Commonwealth Games were discussed at a high-level meeting chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit here on Saturday.

The meeting was informed that Delhi Government has decided to act swiftly on suggestions to contain pollution levels during the Games and would intensify its pollution control drive in September and October.

The Chief Minister emphasised the need for formulating a Games-oriented strategy to bring down air pollution. The Rajghat Power Station, which generates about 135 MW power, is expected to be closed for the period.

Acknowledging that a quantum jump in traffic volumes is expected during the Games, Ms. Dikshit said it would be in the fitness of things if the number of vehicles coming from other States is minimised during those days. Since about a million vehicles enter Delhi each day, this was seen as a measure that would significantly reduce congestion and pollution.

The participants also expressed concern over the entry into Delhi of vehicles which are not destined for the Capital. It was suggested that the work on Western Peripheral Expressway be speeded up to ensure its completion before October this year.

It was decided that the Chief Ministers of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh be contacted and urged to facilitate pollution check of vehicles coming to Delhi so that any polluting vehicles could be barred from entering Delhi.

The meeting discussed measures to minimise the number of private and commercial vehicles on roads. It was decided that the timings of plying of trucks in Delhi would be strictly enforced and restrictions on light vehicles carrying goods during day-time would be considered.

The issue of augmenting parking facility during the Games was taken up and it was suggested that the amount of fine for parking at unauthorised places may be increased.

A suggestion was made to hike parking charges during the Games period to discourage use of private vehicles. The meeting suggested deployment of a large number of ex-Servicemen for overcoming the problem of parking mafia.

As for other measures, it was informed that all schools and colleges will remain closed during the Commonwealth Games and due to this about 1,200 school buses and 2,500 maxi cabs would remain off the roads.

For improvement in public transport, it was stated that Delhi Transport Corporation has got 2,000 new buses and this number would reach 3,800 before the Commonwealth Games. Apart from this, repairing and refurbishing of old buses is also being taken up.

The meeting was informed that the Airport Express Metro Line will be commissioned in September and integration of Metro rail services and bus routes would become possible at 43 points before October.

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