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Air quality turns ‘severe’ in Delhi, construction and demolition ban kicks in

Projects, including those of hospitals, railways, metro, flyovers and highways, are exempted from the construction ban.

Mining and associated activities in the NCR are to stop, and industrial units in areas that do not have PNG supply will be allowed to operate for only five days a week. (Express file photo by Abhinav Saha)

With Delhi’s air quality turning ‘severe’ again, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) has invoked stage three of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), which includes a ban on construction and demolition activities in the National Capital Region.

Projects, including those of hospitals, railways, metro, flyovers and highways, are exempted from the construction ban. Under stage-3 of GRAP, state governments may also consider imposing restrictions on BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers. Mining and associated activities in the NCR are to stop, and industrial units in areas that do not have PNG supply will be allowed to operate for only five days a week.

The transport departments of the NCR states and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation are also required to intensify public transport services along with introducing differential rates to encourage off-peak travel, according to the GRAP measures.

The stage-3 or the ‘severe’ category of GRAP is supposed to set in three days ahead of the air quality hitting the ‘severe’ (AQI of 401 to 450) category as per forecasts. Delhi’s AQI on Sunday was 407, having deteriorated from 370 on Saturday. In the NCR, the air quality in Greater Noida was also in the ‘severe’ category, with an AQI of 410 on Sunday. According to the order issued by the CAQM, the AQI has deteriorated on account of calm winds and stable atmospheric conditions.

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After a deterioration in air quality towards the end of October and early in November, stage-3 of the GRAP was invoked on October 29 while stage-4 set in from November 3 onwards. But these two steps were revoked on November 6 and 14 respectively after the air quality improved.

The Delhi transport department had imposed restrictions on BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers on November 7, and then revoked them when air quality improved.

According to an update issued by the SAFAR forecasting system on Sunday, a drop in minimum temperature is likely to help with the accumulation of pollutants. With the dip in minimum temperature, the likelihood of fog in the morning is higher and this can lead to a deterioration in the air quality, according to the update.

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The Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi in its update on Sunday had not forecasted a deterioration into the ‘severe’ category. On Sunday, the forecast said the AQI is likely to remain in the upper end of the ‘very poor’ category. It is likely to remain in the ‘very poor’ category on Monday and Tuesday as well.

First published on: 04-12-2022 at 18:52 IST
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