New Delhi: The Delhi government on Thursday (November 16) set up a six-member special task force to ensure strict implementation of the Centre’s air pollution control plan GRAP in the national capital, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said. Delhi’s special secretary (environment) will head the STF whose members include senior officials from the departments of transport, traffic, revenue, Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Public Works Department (PWD).
— Gopal Rai (@AapKaGopalRai) November 16, 2023
The STF will coordinate with all the departments involved in the enforcement of pollution control measures and submit a report to the government daily, Mr Rai told reporters.
Earlier in the day, Mr Rai held a meeting with departments on the effective implementation of anti-air pollution measures.
Mr Rai had previously reprimanded the departments concerned for their negligence in executing the air pollution control plan and urged them to establish a monitoring mechanism for overseeing the teams responsible for enforcing anti-air pollution measures.
Strict restrictions, including a ban on construction work and the entry of polluting trucks into the capital, under the final stage (Stage IV) of the Centre’s air pollution control plan called the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) had kicked in on November 5 after air quality in the capital dropped to “severe plus” (AQI above 450) levels.
The movement of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles is banned under the GRAP Stage IV, with exemptions granted to those involved in essential services.
Mr Rai said 16,689 such vehicles have been fined for violating the ban.
The minister added that over 19,000 vehicles operating without a valid pollution-under-check (PUC) certificate have been fined since November 3.
Barring a few days around Diwali, Delhi’s air quality has fluctuated between the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories due to unfavourable meteorological conditions hindering the dispersion of pollutants.
On Thursday, the capital’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 412 at 3 pm. Its 24-hour average AQI, recorded at 4 pm every day, stood at 419 on Thursday. It was 401 on Wednesday, 397 on Tuesday, 358 on Monday, 218 on Sunday, 220 on Saturday, 279 on Friday and 437 on Thursday.
Recent findings from a joint project by the Delhi government and IIT-Kanpur revealed that vehicular emissions accounted for about 38 per cent of the national capital’s air pollution on Wednesday. This is projected to rise to 40 per cent on Thursday.
Calm winds and low temperatures are allowing accumulation of pollutants and relief is unlikely over the next few days, an official at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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