Technical institutes to help cities cut pollution

Around 130 cities will strive to bring down air pollution by 20%-30%

Published - March 27, 2021 04:07 am IST - NEW DELHI

Around 130 of India’s most polluted cities with a population of over a million, and responsible for the bulk of India’s pollution load, have signed agreements with technical and research institutes for “guidance” to improve air quality.

The institutions include Indian Institutes of Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research laboratories and State engineering colleges.

On Friday, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar presided over a ceremony that saw agreements being signed between Noida and Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. The latter will provide technical guidance on the cities’ plans to reduce air pollution by 20%-30% by 2024.

There are about 85 technical institutes, said Prashant Gargava, Member, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) that will partner with cities. However, some of them need training as well as improved infrastructure. Some institutions are guidance centres for multiple cities.

The National Knowledge Network, a board consisting of experts from the Indian Institutes of Technology as well as research organisations would act as an overall guide for these institutions. “The institutes will work closely with the cities. There is also a detailed evaluation programme to quantify the progress made by cities in achieving their targets. These too will involve the institutions,” said Sachchida Nand Tripathi, Coordinator, NKN and a professor at IIT-Kanpur.

“Today's initiative is in line with the vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of curbing air pollution by 20% in the next four years in over 100 cities… it is not an easy task, but a tough challenge which we all need to achieve together,” said Mr. Javadekar.

The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy to tackle air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner, to achieve 20% to 30% reduction in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 (with 2017 as base year).

Expanding the grievance redressal mechanism and sector specific action points is part of these action plans. The Centre has so far disbursed ₹336 crore to State Pollution Control Boards under NCAP. There were, however, other avenues of funds, such as the from the Fifteenth Finance Commission allocations as well as environmental programmes of other Ministries, said Mr. Gargava.

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