Delhi shuts schools, bans construction work to battle smog

New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) The Delhi government on Sunday said all schools will be shut for three days and no construction work will be allowed for five days in the national capital as part of steps to fight pollution.

Saying there should be no blame game over the environmental crisis that has gripped Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also announced a ban on the use of generator sets in the city.

“This is the time to set aside politics and find a solution (to the problem),” Kejriwal said after presiding over an emergency meeting of his cabinet.

“The base level of pollution was already very high. We have consulted experts and we are taking some emergency measures,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader told reporters.

Kerjriwal said the coal-based thermal power plant at Badarpur in south Delhi, which generates a lot of fly ash, would be shut for 10 days. Water would be sprinkled on the fly ash scattered within the plant.

Water would also be sprinkled on the city’s roads on a large scale and vacuum cleaning would begin from November 10 in all 100-foot broad roads maintained by the Public Works Department (PWD), he added.

No construction and demolition of buildings would be allowed for five days.

With high levels of PM 2.5, the pollution crisis in Delhi continues to be classified as “severe” with a blanket of smog covering the entire city as well as neighbouring states.

Delhi’s pollution levels worsened after Diwali on October 30.

Experts say the situation is expected to ease after Monday with dry north-westerly winds likely to reach Delhi, whose dismal air quality has been attributed to low wind speed and high humidity which has blocked dispersal of pollutants.

The Chief Minister announced that in order to do away with the dependence on diesel-run generator sets, electricity connection would be given to whoever asks for it.

He announced a strict enforcement of the ban on burning of dry vegetation, saying residents who see violations can report to the government on an App to be unveiled soon.

And where this takes place, the sanitary inspector and other officers would be penalised.

Holding crop stubble burning in neighbouring states as a contributor to the smog, Kejriwal said the municipal authorities have been told to bring the fire at the land fill sites in the city under control.

Kejriwal also appealed to people to remain indoors as much as possible and said the odd-even transport system may make a comeback.

Under the scheme, aimed at bringing down the number of vehicles on the roads, those with odd registration number would be allowed to ply on odd dats and those with even registration number on even dates.

“Please remain indoors as much as possible and work from home,” the Chief Minister said. “We are starting work on (odd-even).”

–IANS

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