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Friday, December 03, 2021

Delhi pollution: Haryana shuts schools in four NCR districts, imposes other restrictions

The guidelines issued Sunday direct all offices to shift to work-from-home mode and prohibit burning of trash as well as stubble in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonipat and Jhajjar districts till Nov 17

By: Express News Service | Gurgaon |
Updated: November 15, 2021 2:33:53 am
Stubble burning smoke emanates from a field in Gharaunda in the northern state of Haryana, India, November 9, 2021. Picture taken November 9, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS)

The Haryana government Sunday ordered closure of all schools, government and private, in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar till November 17 due to deteriorating air quality in districts around Delhi-NCR. It banned all types of construction and development activities and prohibited stubble burning. It also asked offices to consider allowing employees to work from home to reduce vehicular congestion.

The move comes a day after Delhi government shut its schools for a week owing to severely polluted air.

After two days of ‘severe’ air quality, Gurgaon’s AQI improved Sunday with a reading of 287 (poor) according to the CPCB’s AQI bulletin. Air quality was in ‘poor’ category in Faridabad (298) and Sonepat (288) on Sunday, as per the bulletin.

An order issued by the Chief Secretary-cum-Chairperson of the Haryana State Executive Committee said the guidelines will come into force with immediate effect and remain operational till November 17. As per the order, the directions were issued with an aim to curb air pollution in four districts around the National Capital Region of Delhi — Gurgaon, Faridabad, Sonepat and Jhajjar.

The order said, “There shall be a complete ban on all types of construction and development activities. Mechanised stone crushers and hot mix plants used in construction activities shall be closed. No trash burning by municipal bodies and no manual sweeping of roads shall be allowed.”

It further said that all government and private offices are advised to work from home. “With an aim to reduce 30% plying of vehicles on roads, which will impact vehicular emissions and also reduce dust in the air, all government and private offices are advised to do work from home. Vehicles older than 10/15 years (diesel/petrol respectively) shall be strictly checked with regard to emissions and impounded accordingly,” the order read.

The government directed the deputy commissioners of the four districts to constitute joint inspection teams to enforce directions and ensure extensive monitoring and action against violators.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM), meanwhile, convened a meeting on Sunday. It advised states to be ready for emergency measures listed under the Graded Response Action Plan. It asked state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and UP to consider restrictions and regulations similar to what the Delhi government imposed and now Haryana — namely closing schools and a temporary ban on construction.

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