New Delhi: As Delhi’s air continues to be unbreathable, Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday (November 3), chaired a meeting with officials at Raj Niwas to review the situation. The air quality in the national capital turned ‘severe’ on Friday morning with Mundka recording the highest Air Quality Index (498). It was decided in the meeting to appeal to the neighbouring States, especially Punjab, which accounted for 1921 (71.57 pc) incidents of stubble burning out of a total of 2,684 such events on November 1 to curtail crop residue burning, by incentivizing farmers, so that the resultant smog in the region could be checked.
LG Saxena reiterated the need to put in place a long-term permanent plan of action, which is earnestly implemented once the on-going emergency gets over. The smog tower which was inaugurated in 2021 at a cost of Rs 20 crores in Connaught Place is locked up and not operational.
On being asked about the smog towers in Delhi, Environment Minister Gopal Rai told ANI,
There are two smog towers in Delhi. One is in Anand Vihar, which is run by the central government, while the other is in Connaught Place, which is operated by the Delhi government. Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) chairman Ashwani Kumar joined in December. His payment has been stopped by IIT Bombay, and for the past eight months, the smog tower has been closed. We are tired of saying it again and again, but he’s not ready to open it. Though it is the decision of the cabinet and it’s the order of the Supreme Court and still, they have closed it.
The opposition on the other hand left no stone unturned in targeting the AAP government on the increasing pollution in the city.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gaurav Bhatia hit out at the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and said,
Everyone knows that Kejriwal is known for corruption. Now he is also going to be known for his ineffectiveness and false promises. There is pollution in Delhi which is dangerous for the general public. The pollution in Delhi is threatening to common people, but if there is someone more threatening than that, it’s Arvind Kejriwal. He is threatening because his motive is to do cheap politics. It is a very good thing to expand the party, but Kejriwal ji, you have been in power for 9-10 years, and you have not taken any concrete steps against pollution. The pollution in the air is the result of Arvind Kejriwal’s lack of efforts.
Amid rising pollution in Delhi, BJP leader Shehzad Poonawalla reached the Smog Tower in Delhi’s Connaught place wearing a world war-style gas mask. The BJP leader claimed that the tower had not been operational for eight months.
Kejriwal lives in a Sheesh Mahal but Delhi is living in a gas and smog ka Mahal. I ask some questions on Delhi Smog Tower built at cost of Rs 23 cr which is shut for 8 months! What use is it? What have you done to tackle pollution in last 8-9 years? Just blame Centre and Diwali? Is this Smog Tower one more corruption done by AAP Government?
BJP’s Manoj Tiwari said,
This is what Kejriwal has given to Delhi in last 8-9 years.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Friday expressed concerns over the rise in air pollution in the country and called for a total revamp of the Air Pollution Act and air quality standards to make them stringent and effective.
With the Air Quality Index (AQI) in several parts of Delhi-NCR breaching the ‘severe’ category, doctors and health experts advised people to travel only when necessary saying that the thick layer of smog hanging over the city air was having an adverse effect on the internal organs of the human body.
Naresh Tyagi, Chairman of the National Climate Action Committee said,
The problem of pollution is increasing by the day. There is a need for behavioural change to tackle pollution. It would be great to use digital crackers.
At 12 noon, the average AQI of Delhi clocked 475 which improved to 468 at 4 pm and further to 456 at 5 pm on Friday. The forecast from IITM and IMD indicated a further improvement in the Delhi’s AQI over the next few days. The sub-committee of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM), for the operationalisation of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) noted that mitigation measures under GRAP Stage-III were implemented on Thursday late evening and it was reasonable that it would take more time for its impact to be felt on the average AQI.
The actions are expected to yield positive results over the next few days, it noted. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a notice on Friday to the Chief Secretaries of the States where the Air Quality Index (AQI) has dipped to severe, very poor and poor categories. They are directed to take immediate remedial action and submit the action taken report before the Tribunal, including Delhi.
Along with Delhi, the air quality in cities in the NCR including Bhiwandi, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Ghaziabad, Greater Noida, Hisar, Jind, Noida, Rohtak, and Sonipat were also recorded in the ‘Severe’ category.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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