Delhi Air Pollution LATEST Updates: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday recommended to the Centre that a stipend or compensation be given to daily-wage labourers who have become unemployed as a result of the ban on construction activities to bring down the severe pollution levels in Delhi.
"Huge welfare funds are lying unused under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act. Can there be some stipend when construction is stopped?" a bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said.
The green panel said daily-wage workers who depend on construction sites to make a living are worst sufferers of the ban on construction activities as they have been rendered jobless.
The Prime Minister's Office has reportedly set up a panel to monitor the increasing levels of air pollution in Delhi a day after the Supreme Court took note of the crisis facing the residents of the National Capital for the last week or so. The apex court came down heavily on various authorities, and state governments and the Centre.
The panel will be headed by NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar, Economic Times reported. Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) K Vijay Raghavan and Tarun Khanna of the Harvard Business School, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar and major general Madhuri Kanitkar are members of the panel.
The panel will submit a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in two weeks, the report said.
The Delhi government on Tuesday told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that actions taken by it were "deficient" and more steps need to be taken to tackle air pollution in the National Capital.
"Coordinated actions of enforcement have been done in the last four months. We feel that the actions taken by us are deficient. We need to take more steps," Delhi Chief Secretary, Vijay Kumar Dev told the tribunal.
Responding to Supreme Court's remarks about the rationale of Arvind Kejriwal-led government's Odd-Even scheme, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot on Monday suggested that there was ample evidence to show that the scheme was effective in tackling pollution.
Speaking to ANI, Gehlot said, "There are reports and data by reputed international organisations who work on air quality and pollution. Even an IIT report says that pollution gets reduced. We are simply saying that if you reduce 50 percent of vehicles from the roads of Delhi, then definitely, things will improve."
Pollution levels in the national capital are expected to drop on Tuesday due to an increase in wind speed even as air quality remained in the 'very poor' category in the morning. According to the Meteorological (MeT) department, there is a possibility of strong winds in the next 24 hours.
On the first day of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government's 12-day Odd-Even scheme on Monday, as many as 260 challans were issued and violators — including BJP leader Vijay Goel who violated the rule by driving an SUV with an odd last digit in its registration number — were fined Rs 4,000.
Some relief for Delhiites after the average air quality index (AQI) has shown considerable improvement on Tuesday morning. The dip in the pollution level continued and AQI hit 369 at 9 am latest.
The pollution levels in Delhi have shown slight improvement by moving from "severe" to "very poor" category, with an increase in wind speed which reduced the noxious haze that obscured Delhi's skies for around a week.
Congress leader Ajay Maken on Monday criticised BJP MP Vijay Goel for flouting the Odd-Even scheme implemented in Delhi from Monday onwards to curb the rising levels of pollution in the National Capital Region.
Maken accused Goel of "deliberately" driving an odd-numbered car on a day stipulated for even-numbered vehicles and questioned him on breaking the law despite being a "lawmaker".
A report by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) was quoted by The Times of India as saying that "scattered rainfall and a change in wind direction", likely to hit Delhi by 8 November, could "positively influence" the air quality index (AQI) in the National Capital Region.
While Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia cycled to work on Monday, the first day of the Odd-Even scheme taking effect in a bid to curb the increasing levels of pollution in the National Capital, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and health minister Satyendar Jain joined the trend of Delhi residents carpooling to work on Monday.
Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia claimed that the first day of the Odd- Even scheme was highly successful.
"People of Delhi have owned up the Odd-Even scheme. There has been high level of compliance till now. Total 192 challans have been issued today till now," ANI reported him as saying. He also claimed that the air quality in the National Capital has improved during the day, with the levels of PM 2.5 recording a drastic fall.
The Supreme Court also instructed that a high powered committee of states shall meet on Monday and submit a report by Wednesday. The next hearing will take place on 6 November, reported ANI.
The Supreme Court on Monday banned construction and demolition activities in the Delhi-NCR region as the increasing levels of pollution have choked the National Capital area for more than a week. Garbage burning will attract a fine of Rs 1 lakh and while Rs 5,000 will be fined for garbage dumping in Delhi-NCR.
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Delhi government to produce data or records to prove that the Odd-Even scheme has reduced pollution in Delhi, even though autos and taxis continue to ply the roads. The bench asked the Arvind Kejriwal government to produce the bills by Friday.
The Supreme Court, taking cognizance of the increasing pollution in the Delhi-NCR region, banned construction and demolition activities in the area until further orders. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also said that government officials would be hel personally accountable in case violation of the order. "Let all the industries which aren't necessary remain shut for the time being," the bench was quoted as saying by News18.
Justice Mishra asks the counsel for Delhi what has the Arvind Kejriwal government achieved from the Odd and Even scheme. "Diesel consumption is less and there is less pollution in Delhi. People will share vehicles," counsel tells the court. Justice Mishra to Delhi counsel, "What will you achieve? You are stopping private cars, but autos and taxis can ply... they will ply more and pollute equally. It would make sense of you were saying cars versus buses. The solution is single-person-use vehicles against mass-use vehicles." Justice Gupta adds to the argument and says, "You (Delhi) have only added some 100 buses to public transport. People don't even want to use Metros. The Metro to the Airport runs empty most of the time.
"Farmers cannot kill others for their own livelihood. We have no sympathy for farmers if they keep burning crop," observes Justice Mishra after EPCA chief Bhure Lal tells Supreme Court that all Chief secretaries should be held responsible.
Responding to the ministry of environment and forest in Supreme Court, ASG ANS Nadkarni informed the court that the fires "have been extinguished. The next step is to patrol the situation to ensure no more fires take place." The joint secretary, MoEF said, "Informers will be given awards if they report instances of fire." "Can this be left on informers," asked Justice Mishra. The judge further asked the secretary whether cloud seeding will help tackle the situation. "The meteorological department is the concerned department," the court was told.
The Supreme Court resumes hearing Delhi pollution. The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) appears before the Supreme Court. Court asks for the immediate steps that can be taken and the roadmap to tackle air pollution in National Capital. The joint secretary says, "Stubble burning which contributes to the particulate matter needs to be stopped immediately. All steps indicated in case of severe plus pollution need to be taken. This includes stopping all construction activity, stopping crop burning in Punjab and Haryana. Satellite feed of active fires is sent to relevant and concerned authorities and magistrates asked to take steps."
Supreme Court adjourns the hearing on Delhi air pollution for half an hour. An environment expert from IIT Delhi and a representative from the concerned Ministry told to appear before the court in half an hour on the issue of immediate steps that can be taken to mitigate the toxic air in the National Capital, Bar and Bench reports.
Supreme Court has taken up the issue of pollution in the National Capital and other parts of North India. Justice Arun Mishra, while observing that this is "no way to live", also noted that the state machinery is also not functioning properly. "There is passing of buck... Delhi should do or Centre should do. And now, see pollution levels."
"Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything. Every year this is happening for 10-15 day," said Justice Mishra. The hearing is underway.
BJP MP Vijay Goel got called out on social media for violating the Odd-Even scheme. Twitterati slammed Goel and said that while there is no concrete reason to believe that the scheme will help pollution in city, defying odd-even rules was worse. One user said it was not right to violate the norms especially when Delhi citizens are supporting it.
AAP leader Atishi lambasted BJP MP Vijay Goel for advertently violating the Odd-Even road rationing scheme relaunched by the Delhi government today. In a tweet, Atishi said, "On Diwali: BJP leaders distribute crackers; On stubble burning: BJP Environment Minister keeps cancelling meetings; On Odd-Even: BJP leaders violate rules."
Delhi Traffic Police stops BJP leader Vijay Goel's car as he was driving an odd-numbered car in protest against Delhi government's odd-even scheme. Police fine a traffic challan of Rs 4,000 for defying law. The BJP had left from his house in an odd-numbered car in protest against odd-even scheme. Goel says, "This scheme is just a gimmick, they (Delhi govenrment) themselves say pollution is due to stubble burning, then how does this scheme help? I am ready to pay the fine for violation" He also added that his protest is against the Arvind Kejriwal-led government.
As the odd-even scheme kicked in National Capital today, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter and urged autorickshawallahs and taxis not to overcharge passengers and support the odd-even scheme in the city.
The odd-even scheme in Delhi kicked in from 8am today as pollution levels peaked to a three-year high in the National Capital and a thick smog enveloped the city, prompting hundreds of distraught people to say they wanted to leave the city due to poor air quality. On Monday, the Air Quality Index (AQI) showed major pollutants PM 2.5 and PM 10 were both at 500 — in the 'severe' category.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the National Capital's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 494 at 4pm on Sunday, the highest since November 6, 2016, when it was 497.
Amid a sharp dip in air quality in Delhi and surrounding regions, the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme is set to come into effect in the national capital from Monday.
The scheme applies to private cars and will be applicable from 4 to 15 November from 8 am to 8 pm. The rule will not be enforced on Sundays. Cars with numbers ending in an odd digit are allowed to ply on odd dates of the month and those with even digits ply on even dates.
Representational image. Reuters
The scheme, introduced to combat the spike in air pollution, will be implemented for the third time in Delhi, after January and April 2016.
Two wheelers, vehicles carrying children in school uniform, people with disabilities, women driving alone, with other women or with children younger than 12 years and people travelling due to a medical emergency.
Commercial vehicles, including buses and cabs, running on CNG are exempted from the scheme. However, private CNG vehicles will not be exempted.
Among the VIPs exempted are the vehicles of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India, Speakers of the Lok Sabha, Union ministers, leaders of the Opposition of both the Houses, state governors, Supreme Court judges, judges of High Court, chairman of the UPSC, Chief Election Commissioners, the CAG, deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha and deputy speaker of Lok Sabha, the Lieutenant-General of Delhi, and members of the Lokayukta.
Vehicles of Defence and Enforcement authorities will also be exempt.
The fine for violating the scheme will be Rs 4,000. It has been increased this time as compared to the previous editions of the odd-even rule, when the penalty was Rs 2,000.
Around 300 traffic inspectors and assistant traffic inspectors (ATI) will be deployed in two shifts during the odd-even drive. The ATIs and revenue department officials will issue challans to the violators of the scheme as well as ensure proper enforcement of the schemes at the 200 locations.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), tehsildars, traffic police, transport department, and assistant traffic inspector teams will be able to levy fines on the violators this year.
Government office timings
Of the 42 government offices, 21 will work from 9.30 am to 6 pm, while the timing for others will be 10.30 am to 7 pm.
According to PTI, departments like municipal corporations of Delhi, transport, directorate of education, higher education, irrigation and flood control, state election commission, information and publicity, excise and urban development will start at 10.30 am.
Alternative modes of transport
Both Ola and Uber have said they will not impose surge pricing on customers in the scheme’s duration.
Auto rickshaw drivers are being asked to go by the meter prices when odd-even scheme will be rolled out, said Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
As many as 2,000 additional buses will be deployed on roads. There are currently over 5,600 public transport buses run by DTC and DIMTS. However, the experts have said that over 11,000 public transport buses are needed to bear the current load of commuters, according to PTI.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will conduct 61 additional trips and a total of 5,100 trips through 294 trains, and will display electronic messages on the odd-even scheme at various metro stations. "To ensure the smooth functioning of all the metro lines and trains, 35 teams will be deployed at all the major metro stations,” a DMRC statement said.
The Signature Bridge, which connects Wazirabad to East Delhi, will remain closed from November 5 to 14 when the odd-even scheme will be rolled out, according to Livemint.
With inputs from PTI