As the national capital continues to grapple with the problem of air pollution, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said ministers of the state government will now get on ground to ensure GRAP-related restrictions are enforced.
Rai said at a press conference on Thursday that the implementation of these restrictions on ground is proving to be a challenge.
“We have been getting news that these measures are not being followed strictly on ground. Today we had a meeting with the ministers of the Delhi government. Implementation is seen as a big challenge…activity that should be seen on ground is not seen. The ministers have expressed their disappointment over the administrative negligence, the laxity. To monitor this, we have decided that ministers will get on ground,” Rai said.
Rai will get on ground in the north and northeast districts, while Minister Kailash Gahlot has been assigned the southwest and west districts, Atishi the east and southeast districts, Saurabh Bharadwaj the south and New Delhi districts, Imran Hussain the Central and Shahdara districts, and Raaj Kumar Anand the northwest district.
The ministers will focus on visits in the border areas like the Singhu border, Ghazipur border, Kapashera border, Gurgaon border, and Bahadurgarh border, and construction sites, where dust control measures should be ensured even if construction remains banned. Bus depots will also be visited.
Senior officials and department heads have also been asked to get on ground, Rai said. “Over the next week, there is a likelihood that wind conditions will remain the same. In these circumstances, what we can do is control the sources (of pollution),” he added.
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“Over the past 8 to 10 days, wind speed across north India has been slow and temperature has been falling. Pollutants, instead of dispersing, are accumulating. In this situation, to deal with sources of pollution, like biomass burning, vehicles, stubble burning, dust…GRAP stage-IV is in place across the NCR,” Rai said.
The entry of BS-III and BS-IV diesel buses into Delhi was banned from November 1 onwards. Stage-IV of GRAP was invoked on November 5. This includes restrictions like a ban on Delhi registered diesel medium and heavy goods vehicles, a ban on entry of truck traffic into Delhi except CNG/electric trucks and those carrying essentials, and a ban on LCVs registered outside Delhi, except for electric/CNG/BS-VI diesel vehicles.
Even as all stages of GRAP are in place in Delhi-NCR, the air quality in the national capital remains in the ‘severe’ category. On Thursday, the 24-hour average AQI was 434 at 2 pm. This is the seventh day this month that the AQI is remaining in the ‘severe’ category (401 to 500) in Delhi.
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