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Air turns 'severe'; construction workers to be compensated: CM

Air turns severe; construction workers to be compensated: CM
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New Delhi: The maximum temperature in Delhi settled one notch above the normal at 27.8 degrees Celsius on Thursday, while the city's air quality index (AQI) turned 'severe' from 'very poor' in the morning. The weather department has predicted 'shallow fog' for the next four days even as Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said construction activities were again shut in Delhi in line with the Supreme Court's directions late last night.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also told reporters on the sidelines of a political event that construction workers in the city will be paid for the wages lost due to the ban, adding that the Delhi government was already registering workers and providing them benefits.

It was a cold Thursday morning in Delhi as it recorded a minimum temperature of 9.7 degrees Celsius, two notches below the season's average, the IMD said. At 402, the AQI was recorded in the 'severe' category' at 7 pm on Thursday, according to the real-time data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The AQI recorded at 9 am was 390. The city's 24-hour AQI was 400.

"We have decided to ban construction and demolition activities again from Thursday. The reimposition of the ban will cause inconvenience to workers. So, we will provide them financial assistance. We have directed the Labour Department to prepare a plan in this regard," Rai said.

The Supreme Court had on Wednesday reimposed the ban on construction activities in Delhi-NCR until further orders. Non-polluting construction activities such as plumbing work, interior decoration, electrical work and carpentry are allowed.

The apex court had also asked authorities to use funds collected as labour cess for the welfare of construction workers to provide them subsistence for the duration of the ban. The ban on construction and demolition activities was lifted on Monday in view of an improvement in the air quality and inconvenience caused to workers.

The ban on the entry of trucks has been eased a bit - allowing for CNG and electric trucks to enter the Capital from November 27. However, all other trucks (except essential services) are banned in Delhi till December 3.

But even as the ban on construction activities was reimposed, the Delhi government, for now, has decided to go ahead with reopening schools and colleges from November 29 onwards.

And Delhi is not alone, Gurugram, which had shut its schools along with those in three other NCR districts, is reopening physical classes from today (Friday) with mixed reactions from parents and teachers.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Faridabad (405) too recorded its AQI in the 'severe' category, while the air quality of Ghaziabad (355), Gurugram (350), Greater Noida (340) and Noida (340) continued to be under the 'very poor' category.

According to MeT, the humidity level was recorded at 58 per cent at 5.30 pm on Thursday. The minimum temperature on Wednesday was 9.2 degrees Celsius, lowest in the season so far.

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