Millennium Post

Delhi govt to formulate emergency action plan to combat air pollution

NEW DELHI: With Diwali knocking at its door, the Delhi government is likely to form an emergency action plan to deal with air pollution in the Capital.
This plan would include stopping of construction works, controlling crop burning and halting the power plants. In the worst situation, the government would also close schools in the city.
Moreover, in case of extreme emergency, the provision of the odd-even scheme might be included in the plan.
The Delhi government's Environment department would formulate this plan with help from Delhi Pollution Control Committee, environmentalists and senior officials.
According to sources, the plan would follow the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by the Supreme Court, which is likely to come out on October 15. The GRAP would reportedly include the odd-even rule, along with hiking the parking fee at congested areas by three to four times.
GRAP, which has an advisory for each category of air pollution — emergency, severe, very poor, poor and moderate— will be implemented in Delhi-NCR between October 15 and March 15.
The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, a Supreme Court mandated body to monitor air pollution in the city, has prepared the GRAP.
"The government will plan strict action against any crop burning. We have already written letters to the neighbourhood urging the same," said an official.
Based on the exigency, the plan would necessitate stopping all kinds of construction works in the Capital.
Sources said the Department would not differentiate between private and government construction works, and would also discuss stopping of construction activities with the civic agencies if necessary.
"All construction will be stopped in case air quality reaches severe levels. District-level committees will be formed to monitor construction sites," officials said.
Notable, the plan would consider pollution from power plants around Delhi. In extreme cases, the government might consider temporarily stopping the functioning of these plants.
The government might even urge for closure of the Badarpur power plant in mid-October, after the 20 air-pollution monitoring stations come into action.
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