The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on Thursday withdrew the ban on construction activities, entry of trucks and enhanced parking fees from across Delhi-NCR as air quality improved and dropped to ‘poor’ category from ‘very poor’ for the first time in two weeks. The ban imposed on November 8 was one of the emergency measures taken as part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), after heavy smog blanketed Delhi and the neighbouring states and pollution levels spiked, hitting the emergency category.
According to a PTI report, earlier in the day, EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal wrote to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, directing them that the measures be lifted with “immediate effect” as the prevailing air quality does not warrant such tough action.
The panel further said the measures enforced under the GRAP’s ‘severe’ category including the closure of the Badarpur thermal power plant, ban on brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers will remain.
Bhure Lal wrote, “We are watching the situation very carefully and we have been informed by the India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology that pollution may rise again because of increased moisture in the air in the coming days. However, if the conditions continue to improve and air quality stabilises, we will review the measures under the sSevere’ category and inform you accordingly.”
The EPCA also lifted the hike in parking fees due to lack of public transport and laxity in acting against illegal parking. The hike imposed on November 8 was one of the measures by GRAP to discourage use of private vehicles when the air quality was very poor.
“EPCA believes this is because of lack of enforcement and that enhancement of parking fee is an important car restraint measure. However, this measure has been made ineffective because of the lack of public transport and partly because of poor enforcement of illegal and unauthorised parking,” Lal added.
(With PTI inputs)