L-G holds meeting as dust haze envelops Capital

Orders to stop civil construction activities till Sunday

June 15, 2018 01:37 am | Updated 01:37 am IST - New Delhi

 L-G Anil Baijal chairs an emergency meeting on pollution control measures at his residence on Thursday. He ordered to stop all civil construction activities in the city.

L-G Anil Baijal chairs an emergency meeting on pollution control measures at his residence on Thursday. He ordered to stop all civil construction activities in the city.

As severe dust pollution enveloped the National Capital Region, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Thursday ordered the stoppage of all civil construction activities across Delhi till Sunday as part of emergency measures which also include intensifying mechanical road sweeping.

Conditions to prevail

With a thick blanket of haze enveloping Delhi the NCR over the last few days, the air quality in the Capital remained beyond the “severe” level for the third continuous day and authorities warned that dusty conditions were likely to prevail for another three-four days advising citizens to avoid staying outdoors for long hours.

According to Raj Niwas, civic bodies, the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) have been directed to impose penalties on all road construction agencies for violating norms for dust control measures.

The meeting was attended by Minister Imran Hussain, Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, Environment Pollution Control Authority chairman Bhure Lal, senior government officers and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) director general and EPCA member Sunita Narain. Mr. Baijal tweeted he held an emergency meeting in view of the severe dust pollution in Delhi with the Environment Minister and officials.

In a development related to the said meeting, which both Mr. Baijal and Mr. Hussain wished to convene at 3 p.m., the latter complained he decided to attend Mr. Baijal’s meeting after being told that the officers concerned had gone for it instead of turning up for his.

In a statement, the L-G office stated that the municipal corporations, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Sub-Divisional Magistrates will strictly enforce prohibition on open burning of garbage, plastics and leaves in the Capital.

“Municipal corporations and Public Works Department will intensify mechanical road sweepings, sprinkling of non-potable water at central verges and roadsides and stop brooming activity on main roads,” it stated.

Afforestation drive

The L-G said that a massive afforestation drive would be conducted across Delhi from July 15 to September 15. “Massive afforestation drive from 15 July-15 September across Delhi will be undertaken. Residents’ participation is welcome. Information about procurement of saplings, identified areas for plantation activities etc. can be obtained from Forest Deptt, GNCTD. Green Delhi our common goal,” the L-G posted on Twitter.

Ms. Narain said that ‘severe plus’ category has been imposed for dust pollution under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) with immediate effect till Sunday.

“That means shutting down of all civil construction activities till June 17. We have been told by the Met Department that rain is likely to take place on Saturday, which will mitigate this bad weather situation. We have enforced it till Sunday,” she said.

Five categories

The EPCA’s action plan, termed the GRAP, has formulated five categories. These are severe plus or emergency, severe, very poor, moderate to poor and moderate.

The EPCA, a Supreme Court-appointed watchdog, had on Tuesday issued an advisory to Chief Secretaries of States in Delhi-NCR asking them to take “urgent steps” for controlling dust pollution.

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