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Friday, January 28, 2022

After SC’s rap, Delhi schools to be shut from tomorrow till further orders

The announcement came shortly after the Supreme Court rapped the Delhi government and Centre on steps being taken to tackle the problem in the capital.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 3, 2021 1:26:56 am
Students outside a school in Delhi (Express Photo/Amit Mehra)

Schools in Delhi will shut from Friday until further orders in light of rising pollution levels, Environment Minister Gopal Rai said Thursday. Institutes, where exams are being conducted, will be exempt from the order, he said.

The announcement came shortly after the Supreme Court rapped the Delhi government and Centre on steps being taken to tackle the problem in the capital. The top court had pulled up the Delhi government for resuming physical classes in schools amid a rise in pollution levels.

Officials in the Delhi government said that the decision to shut schools was taken keeping in mind the observations of the Supreme Court.

“Schools had remained closed for a very long time and the decision to reopen them was made, keeping in mind the situation at that time, where pollution levels were decreasing in Delhi. But as we can see right now, pollution levels have risen again. The government is constantly monitoring the situation. We have now decided to close schools, once again, from tomorrow… for all classes,” Rai said Thursday.

“Additionally, the Kejriwal government has consistently been working according to its action plan to tackle vehicle pollution, dust pollution. But as for the schools, we have decided to close them from tomorrow. All schools, colleges, educational coaching institutes, skill development & training institutes, other training institutes, libraries (except where exams are being conducted) shall be closed with immediate effect till further review,” he added.

After remaining shut since November 15 — first due to Covid and then due to pollution — physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions had resumed from November 29.

“For the past two months, we have been running an anti-dust campaign. As for the Central Vista, the central government informed the Supreme Court that the work is of national importance. We are currently awaiting reports based on which we will proceed. We will further be checking reports with regard to violation of anti-dust norms at construction sites as well. All construction-demolition work is already suspended in Delhi, trucks from outside Delhi are also banned from entering,” said Rai.

“We have also started a special bus service to and from government offices so that people don’t have to take their private vehicles to come to work. The capacity of Metros and buses has already been increased…,” he added.

On Thursday, hearing a petition on the matter, Chief Justice N V Ramana said, “We will take (the matter) up tomorrow morning… Please respond by then. Otherwise, don’t force us… We expect serious action. If you can’t, we will do it. If you want an order, we will give you an order. We will appoint someone to administer your government.” It was addressed to both the Centre and state government.

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