The Supreme Court-appointed pollution watchdog, Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), Thursday lifted the ban on construction activities and entry of trucks into Delhi, which was in place since November 8.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT), meanwhile, said it would only lift its ban on construction work on Friday after inspecting air quality data. The bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, said that it would take up the matter on Friday, and that its order would be in force until then.
Later in the day, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and the three civic bodies said they will roll back the the revised parking rates. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation also lifted the ban on entry of trucks in Delhi. The Delhi Development Authority, meanwhile, said it is waiting for the L-G’s instructions, following which it will take a decision in this regard. DDA vice-chairman Udai Paratap Singh said, “We will follow the L-G’s orders.”
The L-G too has ordered revoking the increased rates. Counsel appearing for builders and industries requested the NGT to lift its ban on the ground that air quality has improved. The bench, however, refused to pass any order, stating that there was no urgency since no “building activity would take place at night”.
The EPCA also lifted its directions to all city municipal corporations to enhance parking charges by four times. This, it said, was in view of the serious problems that have cropped up in implementation of the strategy. Air quality in Delhi-NCR has been “very poor” over the past 48 hours — an improvement from the “emergency” situation last week. From November 14, PM10 levels began dipping below 500 µg/m3, while PM2.5 levels went below 300 µg/m3.
“We are watching the situation very carefully and have been informed by the India Meteorological Department and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology that pollution may rise again because of increased moisture in the air in the coming days,” said Bhure Lal, chairperson, EPCA, in his letter to the chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP.