New Delhi [India]: Severe smog situation has forced Delhi government on Friday to ask half of its employees to do work from home.
Delhi minister Gopal Rai said that 50 per cent employees of Delhi government would work from home in view of severe smog situation in Delhi and national capital region.
Rai said that an advisory would also be issued to private offices to follow the norm of asking 50 per cent employees to work from home.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told media that primary schools in Delhi will remain closed from Saturday till the pollution situation improves in Delhi-NCR.
With air quality in the national capital continuing to remain in the ‘severe’ category for second consecutive day, the SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) on Friday revealed that the stubble-burning contributed 34 per cent in Delhi’s PM 2.5 pollution.
The air quality in Delhi continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category on Friday morning as the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) of the city jumped to 472.
Noida, which is part of the national capital region, recorded an AQI of 562, and continued to remain in the ‘severe’ category, while Gurugram’s AQI stood at 539 and continued to remain in the ‘severe’, as per data released by SAFAR.
Gopal Rai said, “Meetings were held with different departments. Plying of trucks except those engaged in essential services will be banned.
The commission for air quality management in national capital region and adjoining areas (CAQM) gave new prohibitory orders on Thursday, whereas construction and demolition activities had already been banned in Delhi but some categories were given relaxations. Ban is being imposed on highway, overbridge and pipelines from today.”
Apart from this, diesel vehicles except BS-6 vehicles will be banned. A six-member monitoring committee has also been set up to implement the ban.
“Letters are being sent to Haryana and UP CMs to ask them to issue directions to divert vehicles towards eastern and western peripheral coming from their states so that they do not reach the Delhi border area, he added.
The number of CNG and electric vehicles has risen as compared to last year. Transport department has been directed to start 500 private environment bus services, he added.
Meetings will be held with RWAs to ask them to provide electric heaters to guards on night duty, he added.
Besides, 33 committees have been formed to monitor industries.
Earlier in the day speaking to reporters here, Kejriwal accompanied by Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, said that the centre government should come forward to lead measures to check severe smog in national capital region.
“The centre government can not lag behind and should lead measures to curb smog in the NCR,” said the Delhi CM.
“The condition is very severe in Delhi, Charkhi Dadri, Jind, Manesar, Faridabad and all othe places. AAP is not responsible for that. The air of a state does not remain in that state only. The centre should take steps in this regard,”he added.
Further speaking on pollution, Kejriwal and Mann said that this is not the right time to do politics over the persisting smog situation in Delhi-NCR.
“AAP governments are in Punjab and Delhi. This is not the time to raise fingers or abuse each other. If they say, Kejriwal is responsible and we say they are responsible, this will not solve the problem of smog in NCR,” they added.
According to the the Delhi and Punjab CM, the AAP governments are not completely responsible for the pollution.
“Our government came into existence just six months ago and this is inadequate time to contain pollution. Despite that, our government has done a lot of works to check stubble burning. We got success in some measures and did not succeed other attempts. Stubble burning will reduce significantly,” they added.
“We do not want to play blame game, we are responsible (for smog in NCR)”, they added.
Kejriwal announced that primary schools in Delhi would be closed from November 5.
Besides, the outdoor activity of students of above fifth standard has been banned.
The Delhi government is also mulling to implement the odd-even norms for plying of vehicles in Delhi to contain the pollution caused by vehicular emission, he added.
Meanwhile, Mann said that his government arranged over one lakh machines to properly dispose of stubble. “As many as 124 villages passed a resolution to not to burn stubble but it is still burning and we take responsibility for that”, he added.
Mann further stated that a bioplant was inaugurated which will consume stubble from 47,000 acres but paddy is being sown on 75 lakh acres. More such plants are needed, he added.
“We can solve this problem by November next year. We have taken a number of steps but only one state is not responsible. This is the problem of entire north India”, he added.
Attempts are being made to find some other crop beneficial for the farmers, the Punjab CM comcluded.