Delhi pollution tracker | From odd-even to fines, struggle to curb smog continues

Women-driven and CNG-run cars and two-wheelers will be exempt from the odd-even scheme to be implemented for five days from November 13.

Updated - November 09, 2017 08:42 pm IST

Published - November 09, 2017 05:23 pm IST

 Cows stand by the side of a road as a truck drives with lights on through smog in Greater Noida.

Cows stand by the side of a road as a truck drives with lights on through smog in Greater Noida.

For the third straight day, Delhi and the National Capital Region clocked a "severe" level of pollution, forcing the State government to shut schools for the rest of the week, stop the entry of trucks carrying non-essential goods and temporarily ban construction activities.

No need to panic, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said there was no need to panic over the poor air quality in Delhi and hoped normality would return in the “next few days“.

Mr. Vardhan, who also holds the portfolio of Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, said it was expected that in another 24 hours things would be under control due to the measures being undertaken by various government agencies.

The Environment Ministry has formed a seven-member committee to evolve short-term and long-term solutions to air pollution.

Keep politics aside, stop stubble burning: Kejriwal

Keeping political differences aside, the Union, Harayna, Punjab and Delhi governments should come together to find a permanent solution to stubble burning, which leads to high pollution every year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said at an event on Thursday.

Banning entry of trucks, construction activities and introducing odd—even was not the solution to the high pollution level, he said, adding, "Punjab and Haryana should evolve a technology and give financial assistance to stop stubble burning. If health cost is much on illness, then we may make some contributions because it is the responsibility of all."

Odd-even car rationing scheme from Nov. 13 to 17

The odd-even car rationing scheme would be reintroduced in Delhi for five days from November 13, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said.

Like last year, cars driven by women, CNG-run cars and two-wheelers would be exempt from the scheme.

The Delhi Transport Corporation was hiring 500 more buses through private contractors and the Delhi Metro would add 100 small buses for last mile connectivity, he said.

Hike in parking fee to discourage own vehicle use

Increasing the parking fees by four times is among the many measures listed under the graded response action plan to tackle the severe air pollution problem.

NGT bans all construction activities in Delhi till Nov. 14

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday banned all construction activities till November 14 in Delhi and the National Capital Region.

A Bench, headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar, said: “We direct that there should be sprinkling of water wherever the PM 10 is found in excess of 600. There should be regular cleaning of the roads after sprinkling, so that the particulate matter doesn’t rise again.”

The tribunal also banned the plying of trucks that carry construction material such as sand and cement within the capital.

It also asked Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan to ensure that crop residue are not burnt and urged the four governments to provide enough incentives to farmers.

NHRC issues notice to Centre, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana on pollution

Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the National Human Rights Commission said it was apparent that the authorities had not taken the adequate measures throughout the year and it amounted to the violation of the Right to Life and Health of the NCR residents.

Asking for reports on the steps taken and proposed to tackle the problem, the NHRC issued notice to the Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Highways and Road Transport as well as the Chief Secretaries of the Delhi, Punjab and Haryana governments. The Health and Family Welfare Ministry Secretary was asked to provide details of the preparedness of government hospitals to treat patents affected by high pollution levels.

“The Commission is of the opinion that there is an immediate need for effective action to be taken by the Union and the State agencies. Proper implementation of the environmental laws is necessary. The State cannot leave its citizens to die due to the toxic haze,” an NHRC statement read.

High Court suggests cloud seeding

The Delhi High Court suggested cloud seeding to induce artificial rain to tackle the “emergency situation.”

The court asked the Centre to hold meetings with the Delhi and National Capital Region authorities to bring in short-term measures to control pollution immediately and to submit a report to it on November 16, next date of hearing.

Issuing a slew of directions as immediate measures to control pollution in Delhi-NCR, the court banned felling of trees, ordered sprinkling of water on roads to control dust and strict enforcement of construction code to ensure that the air is not polluted further.

U.P. cancels four dozen buses to Delhi

With thick smog descending over New Delhi and neighbouring areas of the NCR and sharply cutting down visibility levels, the Uttar Pradesh government has cancelled four dozen buses to the Union capital.

Officials said the number of passengers had seen a steady drop over the past few days on the route to Delhi, thereby forcing the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) to consider downsizing the number of buses plying between the two points.

“Other than the pollution in Delhi and adjoining areas, what has prompted us to cut the number of buses for now is the poor number of passengers who apparently are putting off their travel plans to Delhi owing to the ‘gas chamber effect’,” an official told IANS.

Some buses to Noida, Ghaziabad and Agra have also been cancelled for the time being.

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