Centre on Sunday has taken a call to invoke all actions as envisaged under Stage-IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) – ‘Severe+’ Air Quality (Delhi’s AQI > 450), with immediate effect in the entire national capital region (NCR).
Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas invoked the eight-point action plan as per Stage-IV of the GRAP in the entire NCR with immediate effect to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region, a statement issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said.
The steps include the government taking appropriate decisions on permitting work from home for employees in Central government offices. State governments may also consider additional emergency measures like the closure of colleges/ educational institutions and closure of non-emergency commercial activities, permitting running of vehicles on the odd-even basis of registration number, it said.
“This is in addition to the preventive/ restrictive actions mentioned under Stage-I, Stage-II and Stage-III of GRAP. Various agencies responsible for implementing measures under GRAP and Pollution Control Boards (PCBs) of NCR and DPCC have also been advised to ensure strict implementation of actions under Stage-IV of revised GRAP in addition to all actions under Stage-I, Stage-II, Stage-III of GRAP already in force, during this period,” it said.
The eight-point action plan also includes a ban on the plying of Delhi-registered diesel-operated medium goods vehicles (MGVs) and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in Delhi, except those carrying essential commodities/ providing essential services; ban on construction and demolition activities in linear public projects such as highways, roads, flyovers, overbridges, power transmission and pipelines.
“Discontinuing physical classes”
Also, NCR State government and GNCTD may take a decision on discontinuing physical classes even for classes VI – IX, class XI and conduct lessons in an online mode; and can take a decision on allowing public, municipal and private offices to work on 50 per cent strength and the rest to work from home.
Further, government appealed to the citizens of NCR to cooperate in implementing GRAP and follow the steps mentioned in the Citizen Charter under GRAP. It advised children, elderly and those with respiratory, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular or other chronic diseases to avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors, as much as possible.
The Sub-Committee while comprehensively reviewing the overall air quality scenario in the region as well as the forecasts for meteorological conditions and air quality index made available by IMD/IITM during the meeting observed that at 5 AM on Sunday, the average AQI for Delhi clocked 454, which had escalated to 463 at 3 PM due to the continuing unfavourable meteorological and climatic conditions.