New Delhi, Nov 6: In bid to combat the worsening air quality in the national capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired a high-level meeting on Monday, focusing on addressing the air pollution crisis, and decided on various measures, including launching the odd-even scheme next week.
Expressing his deep concern about the situation, Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues, including Environment Minister Gopal Rai, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, and Education Minister Atishi, deliberated on key decisions to mitigate the issue.
Addressing the media on the government's strategy after the meeting, Rai said that the government has decided to implement the Odd-Even scheme from November 13 to 20, post-Diwali, in response to the anticipated surge in pollution levels.
Under this scheme, vehicles with licence plates ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) will be allowed to operate on odd days, while vehicles with even-numbered plates (0, 2, 4, 6, and 8) will be permitted on even days.
"A comprehensive action plan, developed in collaboration with relevant departments, including Transport and Traffic Police, will be formulated during a meeting on Tuesday," he said.
"Furthermore, the government has extended the closure of schools for students in Classes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 grades until November 10, in addition to the existing closure of schools up to Class 5. Notably, board exams for Classes 10 and 12 will proceed as scheduled,” said Rai.
In response to concerns raised about the efficacy of pollution control efforts, Rai said that the Delhi government's continuous year-round commitment to reducing pollution through various long-term initiatives, such as the Summer and Winter Action Plans.
"According to scientists and the meteorological department's analysis, the main reason for the rise in pollution within Delhi is the continuous drop in temperatures and very low wind speed. The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was 347 on October 30. Subsequently, it increased to 359 on October 31, 364 on November 1, 392 on November 2, 468 on November 3, and 415 on November 4. Then, on November 5, it increased further to 454, and on Monday, it was recorded at an AQI of 436, which had peaked at 468 in between," he said.
"To reduce vehicular pollution in Delhi, the Transport Department and Traffic Police have conducted campaigns to check Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates. A fine of Rs 10,000 is imposed for violating PUC norms, and 28,471 fines have been issued to vehicles during the periods of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) levels I, II, and III," said Rai.