Delhi air pollution updates: The Delhi government will take a call on the implementation of the proposed odd-even car-rationing scheme in the city after the Supreme Court reviews its effectiveness and issues an order. The matter will be heard on Friday. Overnight rain in Delhi, Noida and Gurugram brought some relief from the severe air pollution to the national capital on Friday morning, where the city government was mulling seeding clouds to improve the toxic air gripping the city.
The city, which was the most polluted in the world till Thursday, saw its air quality index (AQI) improve to 127 early on Friday – a welcome change from the “hazardous” 400-500 level seen during the past week, according to Swiss group IQAir.
The Delhi government also has decided to bear the entire cost of artificial rain to combat hazardous air pollution in the city and directed the chief secretary to present the government’s views before the Supreme Court on Friday. If the Centre supports the decision, the Delhi government can arrange for the first phase of artificial rain in the city by November 20, an official told news agency PTI.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court questioned the effectiveness of the Delhi government’s car-rationing scheme, aimed at curbing vehicular pollution, and referred to it as “all optics”.
Delhi environment minister Gopal Rai, anticipating further deterioration of the air quality post-Diwali, had on Monday announced that the flagship scheme, which permits cars to operate on alternate days based on the odd or even last digit of their registration numbers, would be enforced between November 13 and November 20.
AAP ministers inspect Delhi borders
Meanwhile, the Aam Admi Party-led Delhi government decided to field Delhi ministers to ensure the implementation of anti-pollution measures. As part of the inspection process, several Delhi ministers were seen on Thursday night inspecting different areas and borders connecting Delhi to neighbouring states.
Rai inspected vehicles and trucks entering Delhi at the Singhu border.
“After seeing the level of pollution in the national capital, the entry of trucks carrying non-essential items has been banned. Only entry of CNG and electric trucks has been allowed. Teams have been deployed on all the borders for this. Tomorrow I will again write a letter to the Haryana and UP government regarding the entry of the trucks,” said Rai while inspecting trucks entering the national capital.
Meanwhile, another minister, Atishi, was also seen inspecting vehicles at the Ghazipur border as she took stock of implementing measures to control air pollution.
While inspecting trucks, Atishi said, “Today after inspecting here (Ghazipur border ) we have come to know that systems need to be strengthened on the borders because there are several trucks that are not allowed to enter the national capital but are entering illegally. All the ministers of the Delhi government are inspecting different borders today, to ensure that there is no illegal entry of trucks into the capital.”
“These inspections will continue. We are going to request the Supreme Court to direct all the central agencies to cooperate with the Delhi government regarding ‘artificial rain’ in the city. By November 20 this can be done,” she added.
On the other parts, other ministers Saurabh Bharadwaj and Kailash Gahlot were also seen inspecting vehicles entering the city through the Gurugram border.
“We are receiving complaints that GRAP-4 rules are not being followed strictly. The implementation of GRAP-4 means trucks with essential items can only enter Delhi. Today we have come here to Gurugram, and we are witnessing the negligence in the implementation of rules. To decrease air pollution in Delhi, these rules need to be followed strictly,” Bharadwaj said while inspecting trucks.
“The drivers are saying that they are from Rajasthan. The Rajasthan Government is not making them aware that because of high pollution in Delhi, only trucks with essential services are allowed to enter. All the states of the NCR have to run an awareness campaign about it. The drivers are saying that they did not know that some trucks are banned in Delhi,” Gahlot said.
The inspections were carried out after Rai held a meeting with officials and his cabinet members and decided that all Delhi ministers would work on the ground to ensure the implementation of air pollution control measures.
Currently, Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has been implemented in the national capital after the city’s air quality plummeted to the ‘severe plus’ category.