EPCA hikes vehicle parking fees four times
NEW DELHI: Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority (EPCA) on Tuesday hiked vehicle parking fees by four times in Delhi in a bid to curb worsening air quality in the Capital as the high-pollution winter months kicked in. It has also urged to slash down the metro fare in the peak hours so that more people can travel by metro. EPCA said the national capital was facing a "crisis situation", which is likely to persist for the next few days.
"Weather conditions in Delhi-NCR are adverse, and the wind is bringing pollution from farm fires in Punjab and moisture from the east. In terms of air pollution, things are expected to get much worse in the coming days. We, therefore, need to act decisively," said Bhure Lal the Chairperson of EPCA.
Lashing out at the Delhi government he added that we had provided some solutions. So far, every solution that has been suggested has been contested and delayed. Lal also instructed Delhi and neighbouring states -- Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana -- to strengthen the public transport system by introducing more buses.
Amongst the other measures, it directed a fine of Rs 50,000 on road construction agencies violating dust pollution norms in Delhi-NCR. The body asked the Delhi-NCR governments to start preparing for measures like odd-even and ban construction activities if pollution aggravates. The measures also include complete closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers across the region till further notice. Delhi woke up to 'severe' air quality on Tuesday with a thick haze blanketing the city as pollution levels breached permissible standards by multiple times.
EPCA members have approached the Delhi government and the municipal agencies to follow the orders. Following this deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia took a meeting with the environment officials. The government took a decision to close all the primary schools for Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal has urged to meet the Union Environment Minister to discuss the situation. The Central Pollution Control board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee have clearly said that till the crop burning is not stopped and the wind directions are not changed then there is no scope of any change in the situation. However, the experts said that the strict implementation of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) will bring some relief to the Capital. While the authorities took various steps, the city witnessed a smog-covered evening on Tuesday.