Delhi air pollution story so far: Rs 2,000 challan for odd-even violators; 5,000 security personnel to be deployed

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Delhi air pollution story so far: Rs 2,000 challan for odd-even violators; 5,000 security personnel to be deployed
  • 11:49 (IST)

    Dean of Diplomatic Corps to meet external affairs ministry over poor air quality today

  • 11:46 (IST)

    Visibilty remains at 1,000 metres in Delhi

    The humidity at 8.30 am. was 91 percent and visibility stood at 1,000 metres. There was no rain expected for a week, an IMD official said.

    The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 25.5 degrees Celsius, which is two notches below the season's average.

  • 11:40 (IST)

    Delhi half marathon to take place despite smog crisis in city

    The Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will go ahead as usual on 19 November despite requests from medical associations, activists to cancel the event, according to NDTVRunners exerting themselves in the smoggy air face the risk of lung damage and heart attacks, said KK Aggarwal, president of the Indian Medical Association, by phone, citing similar deaths in Beijing.  

  • 11:34 (IST)

    Gurugram professionals to take part in 'Car Free Challenge' from 20-26 November

    A group of professionals from Gurugram are taking part in the #TheCarFreeChallenge from 20-26 November to combat air pollution. The effort is to "maximise the use of sustainable transport like bus, metro, etc." 

  • 11:30 (IST)

    Air quality 'very poor' in city: Delhi Traffic Police

  • 11:28 (IST)

    AAP failed to spend environment cess to curb Delhi pollution, says Opposition leader Vijender Gupta

    Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Thursday alleged that the AAP government not only "failed" to spend the environment cess fund but also did not furnish quarterly details of expenditure from it to the Supreme Court and the EPCA as mandated by the court.

    He alleged that the Delhi government did not spend a "single penny" of the environment compensation charge (ECC) to address the problem caused by rising air pollution. "Also they did not apprise the Supreme Court of the same and kept the people in dark," Gupta alleged.

  • 11:25 (IST)

    SAFAR study reveals dust storm in West Asia chief trigger behind smog crisis in Delhi

    As Delhi and its neighbours spar over stubble burning, a Centre-run monitoring agency has identified a West Asian dust storm as the chief trigger behind the recent smog episode in the region.

    On 8 November, the contribution of the dust storm was 40 percent, eclipsing the role of emissions from stubble burning, which stood at 25 percent, the Pune-based System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said.

    That was the day pollution levels peaked with PM2.5 concentration reaching 640 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3), according to the SAFAR scientific assessment report of the week-long pollution crisis accessed by PTI.

    "Rest was made up of emissions from local sources such vehicular combustion. If external sources did not have any role, levels of PM2.5 during this period could have been around 200 µg/m3," the report stated.

  • 11:23 (IST)

    NGT allows trucks to enter Delhi; asks states to submit report in two weeks

    NGT permits trucks to enter Delhi on Friday and directed neighbouring states to submit action plan on steps to curb pollution within two weeks. 

  • 11:20 (IST)

    Image: Mahatma Gandhi's statue wears a mask

    A policeman removes the anti-pollution mask from the Gandhi Statue at Gyarah Murti which was put by rebel AAP MLA Kapil Misra and BJP MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa during their protest against smog and air-pollution, in New Delhi on Thursday. 

    Image courtesy: PTI

  • 11:15 (IST)

    Meanwhile, Mahatma Gandhi's statue being protected from the smog

  • 11:07 (IST)

    Air Quality Index at Delhi's Siri Fort still at 'Hazardous' level

  • 10:54 (IST)

    NGT allows construction activities in NCR

    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday allowed construction activities in the National Capital Region (NCR) while directing that preventive measures to control air pollution be taken. Other prohibitory orders concerning industries, stubble burning etc. will remain in place.  

  • 10:51 (IST)

    After south Delhi, east and north Delhi roll back parking fee hike

    After the SDMC, civic bodies in east and north Delhi have also rolled back the four-time parking fees hike, officials on Thursday said.

    The three municipal corporations had quadrupled the parking fees a week ago, following the order by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in view of high-level of pollution in the city. "Enhanced parking rates of four times the previous one will cease to operate with immediate effect," the EDMC said in an order.

  • 10:48 (IST)

    40 trains delayed, 13 rescheduled, six cancelled in Delhi due to poor air quality

  • 10:38 (IST)

    Driven out By Delhi smog, Costa Rica envoy says 'India I Love You, But...'

    High level of air pollution in Delhi has affected the health of the Costa Rican envoy in New Delhi, prompting her to retreat to Bengaluru.

    Ambassador of Costa Roca to India Mariela Cruz Alvarez appealed to the people, saying the "blue planet is crying" due to pollution.

    In a personal blog post, she said: "This past weeks the levels of pollution in Delhi reached impossible numbers.  The consequences of breathing this air i had no idea-  until i reached Bangalore and my system collapsed.  My clean Costa rican lungs know nothing about air quality forecast,  particles of PM10 and its monitoring, the same as we know nothing about extreme changes in temperature.  I´m used to living in paradise and suddenly India has become a threat to my health and the health of my friends and colleagues."

  • 10:34 (IST)

    Farmers will need handouts worth $500 million a year to switch to alternative ways of disposing farm stubble

    NITI Aayog, the government’s economic planning think-tank, has estimated farmers would need handouts worth about $500 million a year to switch to alternative ways of disposing farm stubble, said an official who was involved in the preparation of the report.

    Another $100 million is needed to reward local bodies for adopting best practices and funding awareness campaigns, the official said.

  • 10:20 (IST)

    News18 reports: AAP's bus scam busted

    A damning RTI reply indicts Delhi the government. While AAP has been pinning the blame on Center for allegedly taking away the land meant to build a bus depot, an RTI reply has revealed that Delhi govt rented bus depots to private operators as parking lots. 

    The RTI reply assumes importance as Delhi gasps for some clear air. The Kejriwal government has received a lot of flak for not boosting public transport in the city. Delhi needs more buses powered by the clean fuel CNG as the national capital and the surrounding region are swallowed by thick smog that developed due to a host of factors, including automobile emissions, the Delhi High Court told the Kejriwal government on Tuesday.

  • 10:14 (IST)

    Delhi Half Marathon to proceed as planned

    Delhi High Court allows Half Marathon in Delhi to proceed as planned, after the organisers submitted that they have put in a refund policy for those runners who want to opt out and there are measures in place to deal with medical emergencies, The Indian Express reports.

  • 10:07 (IST)

    World Bank estimates pollution cost the country as much as 7.7 percent of the GDP in 2013

    It’s not just the crop burning — a combination of industrial smog, vehicle exhaust and dust envelop the region every year as winter approaches and wind speeds drop. It’s been particularly bad this year with levels of PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter that reaches deep into the lungs, climbing to over 600 last week, according to a US Embassy measure.

    The upper limit for healthy air is 50, the government has said.

    Respiratory diseases killed about 10 people a day in the year to March 2017 in the national capital region, according to the health ministry. The World Bank estimates pollution cost the country as much as 7.7 percent of the GDP in 2013.

  • 09:36 (IST)

    Only God can save us: Delhi officials

    A major source of the smog at this time of year across northern India, including New Delhi, is farmers burning the stubble of the previous crop to prepare for new plantings in November.

    An estimated $600 million is needed to provide farmers with alternatives, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi and opposition parties in power in New Delhi and nearby Punjab states are squabbling over who will pay, said three federal government officials who have been briefed on the situation.

    “Nothing more is likely to happen this year,” said one of them. “We’re now praying. Only God can save us," Reuters quoted officials as saying. 

  • 08:58 (IST)

    Officials sprinkle water in Lucknow to reduce pollution levels

    Officials in UP's Lucknow are also battling heavy pollution in the city. ANI reports that fire brigade services sprinkled water in Mall Avenue, Vikramaditya Marg, Kalidas Marg, Dilkusha areas and near Raj Bhavan in Lucknow in the light of an increase in the pollution in the city.

  • 08:52 (IST)

    SAFAR predicts air quality might take hit over the weekend

    SAFAR (System of Air Quality And Weather Forecasting And Research) has forecast that air quality may dip over the weekend due to incursion of moisture and fall in inversion layer which will keep pollutants trapped near the surface.

    The air quality index (AQI), at 363, was in the 'very poor' zone. The volume (24-hour rolling average) of ultrafine particulates PM2.5 and PM10 were 184 and 299 micrograms per cubic metre respectively.

  • 08:45 (IST)

    Trucks enter city as L-G lifts ban

    Delhi breathed relatively easy as air quality remained outside the 'severe plus' category for the third day straight, prompting authorities to withdraw the ban on entry of trucks and restore parking fees to usual rates.

    The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority lifted the ban on construction activities as well but Lt Governor Anil Baijal kept it in abeyance as the matter was pending with the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

    The NGT, which had separately issued an order banning entry of trucks (except those carrying essential commodities), has posted the matter for hearing tomorrow.

  • 11:50 (IST)

    26 trains delayed, six cancelled as temperature in capital drops below average

    Six trains were cancelled and 26 were running late due to shallow fog in northern India, according to railway spokesperson. It was a misty Thursday morning in the national capital with the minimum temperature recorded at 13 degrees Celsius, which is a notch below the season's average.

  • 11:45 (IST)

    As smog looms large in Delhi, RTI plea reveals AAP govt spent only Rs 93 lakh out of Rs 787 crore environment money

    While the National Capital Region continues to battle smog, an RTI query has revealed that the Delhi government utilised only Rs 93 lakh out of the Rs 787 crore it had collected as environment cess.

    According to a report on CNN-News18, the RTI petition filed by Sanjeev Jain revealed that the Delhi government had received over Rs 50 crore as environment cess in 2015. However, there was a massive increase in collection in 2016 and 2017, when the AAP government collected Rs 386 crore and Rs 787 crore respectively.

    Of this, Rs 93 lakh was paid to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation for payment towards pre-tendering incidental cost related to preparation of RFID documents, said a copy in India Today.

  • 11:37 (IST)

    Expert slam EPCA's knee-jerk reaction 

    Speaking to CNN-News18, environmentalist Vimlendu Jha said," Environment is custodian of environment and not the economy. Ecology is important for the city. But if the EPCA does not show concern about ecology then I do not know who will do so? First, they implement these rules but just two days, all measures are withdrawn. This is nothing but a knee-jerk reaction from EPCA. I am disappointed."

  • 11:32 (IST)

    North, east Delhi was to continue with revised rates

    While the parking fees in areas falling under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which were quadrupled a week ago, were to be restored to the previous rates from Thursday onwards, the NDMC and EDMC corporations were to continue with the revised rates. But with the EPCA's latest decision, all corporations now need to go back to the original rates. 

  • 11:28 (IST)

    Heavy smog led to Four-time hike in parking charges

    The SMDC and the other two municipal corporations — the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation — had effected a four-time hike in the fees from 9 November, following the order by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal in view of the high-level of pollution in the city.

  • 11:23 (IST)

    Parking fees hike also withdrawn 

    The EPCA has also withdrawn the four-fold hike in parking fees in Delhi, ANI reported. 

  • 11:19 (IST)

    Ban on all construction work lifted in Delhi

    The Environment Pollution Control Board said that not only has the ban on construction work been lifted but also the curbs on entry of trucks been lifted. The EPCA said that the decision has been taken as the smog situation is now under control. 

  • 11:11 (IST)

    EPCA lifts ban on construction work, entry of trucks 

  • 11:10 (IST)

    Updates for 16 November 2017 begin

  • 12:03 (IST)

    SAD-BJP to protest against Arvind Kejrwal 

    According to India Today, SAD and Congress workers are demanding expulsion of Sukhpal Singh Khaira from the Aam Aadmi Party. The protesters allege AAP defamed Punjab by raking up the issue of drugs and now the party's own leader is reportedly involved in a case of drug smuggling. 

  • 12:02 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal arrives in Chandigarh

  • 11:49 (IST)

    ML Khattar's 'one-hand-distance' diktat

    According to CNN News18, the Haryana government has come out with a diktat ahead of ML Khattar's meeting with Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. A notification said that journalists need to keep an one-hand-distance from Khattar. 

  • 11:40 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh snubs Arvind Kejriwal's request to meet

    On Tuesday, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh rejected Kejriwal's request to meet and instead asked him to refrain from "trying to politicise a serious issue". 

  • 11:24 (IST)

    Kejriwal had blamed stubble burning for smog situation

    The Delhi chief minister had earlier blamed stubble burning by farmers in Punjab and Haryana for the thick smog that has descended over Delhi. He had also written to the Chief Ministers of both states and requested for a joint meeting to "find solution" to the problem that has led to widespread health concerns in the National Capital Region.

  • 11:21 (IST)

    Kejriwal accompanied by environment minister, bureaucrat 

    Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain and Environment Department Secretary Keshav Chandra are also accompanying the Delhi chief minister to the meeting with Haryana chief minister ML Khattar. 

  • 11:19 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal tweeted about his upcoming meeting with Khattar

  • 11:10 (IST)

    Updates for 15 November 2017 begin

  • 17:06 (IST)

    Here's a look at how India and China, the countries with the world’s dirtiest air, stack up on their fight against air pollution

    Infographic courtesy: network18creative

  • 17:00 (IST)

    It seems like Delhiites have not be disillusioned by the festering Delhi smog, fitness enthusiasts work out despite the poor air quality condition in the national capital 

  • 16:58 (IST)

    Air quality level at hazardous level in Mandir Marg, Delhi 

  • 16:42 (IST)

    MeT update of smog situation in North India 

    The India Meteorological Department observed that very dense fog has been observed at most places over Punjab, Haryana and north Rajasthan; while moderate to dense fog persists at a few places over Delhi (SFD/PLM) and rest Uttar Pradesh.

    The lowest visibility (<500 M) observed at 08.30 hours IST of today: Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ambala, Ganganagar, Hissar & Rohtak ­25 M each; Bareilly ­50 M; Delhi ( SFD/PLM) & Meerut­ 200 M each and  Lucknow & Fursatganj­ 500 each.

  • 16:38 (IST)

    Govt is playing with children's health, accuse angry parents as schools reopen after 5 days

    Angry parents accused Delhi authorities on Monday of "playing with children's health" as schools reopened despite a fresh surge in pollution to emergency levels.

    "There has been no let-up in the pollution levels. So if the situation is the same, action should be the same. Why open the schools now?" said Ashok Agrawal, president of the All India Parents Association.

    "On one hand the government is saying there is a health emergency and on the other, they are playing with children's health. "It is so disturbing to see children coughing and struggling to breathe all the way to the school."

    Read more here

  • 16:28 (IST)

    Arvind Kejriwal retaliates to Manohar Lal Khattar's request for a meeting, says his office 'is constantly trying to fix meeting'

  • 16:24 (IST)

    Cleaning capital's toxic air requires scientific thinking, compliance and political will

    Cleaning Delhi’s air—a problem that has now reached alarming proportions—thus, requires political will, unified planning, scientific thinking, engineering innovation, administrative compliance and cross-national cooperation, as it is indeed, a problem of north India. Unfortunately, all that the past week has brought us has been uncooperative federalism, unscientific remarks, angry courts and toxic air. Any debate and dialogue around air pollution must not revolve around personalities and politics and must rather adhere to principles of science and prudent policy.

    Full analysis here 

  • 16:12 (IST)

    Mothers advocate for clean air for children in a maternity beauty pageant

    Winners of the 'Maternity Queen 2017 Contest' pose with masks to spread message “Swacch Hawa-Surakshit Ma-Shishu” (Clean Air Safe Mother and Child), in Chandigarh on Sunday.

    Image courtesy: PTI 

  • 16:06 (IST)

    Recap: Delhi govt moves NGT seeking changes in odd-even scheme; green panel to hear plea tomorrow

    The Delhi government on Monday moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeking amendment in its 11 November order on odd-even car rationing scheme. The green panel said it will hear the plea on Tuesday.

    Read more here

  • 16:00 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi takes a swipe at Narendra Modi for his silence on Delhi air pollution issue 

    Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recalled lines from a Bollywood film song to take a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the air pollution issue in the national capital.

    Gandhi, with the help of a song from the 1978 film "Gaman", indirectly referred to government 'inaction' on pollution.

    He added a new line to the verse, bringing in a "Saheb" who remains quiet despite being in the know.

    Read more here

Delhi breathed poison with pollutants touching calamitous levels, as a thick grey smog hung low across the region, prompting authorities to declare schools shut till Sunday, halt construction activities and ban entry of trucks in the city.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal approved the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority's decision to enforce these measures enlisted under the 'severe plus' or emergency category of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in a meeting attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

A decision on whether or not to implement the odd-even car-rationing scheme will be taken, the EPCA said.

"The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) task force has advised EPCA that given the prevailing air pollution emergency in the city, there is a need to take actions which are listed in the severe plus category," it said.

Authorities in the city scrambled to tackle the extraordinary situation as hospitals recorded a surge in the number of patients complaining of respiratory problems, reminiscent of the '1952 Great Smog of London'.

After Diwali last year, Delhi witnessed a similar episode of smog which lasted nearly a week, prompting authorities to declare such emergency measures for the first time in the city's history.

 Delhi air pollution story so far: Rs 2,000 challan for odd-even violators; 5,000 security personnel to be deployed

Representational image. PTI

The smog, which triggered near zero visibility at many places, pile-ups on highways and delay in flight operations, is a mixture of carbon monoxide, particulate matter such as PM2.5, PM10, ground level ozone and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur dioxide, the Delhi government said in a health advisory.

The government also announced that all schools in the national capital would remain closed till Sunday in view of the "unbearable" air pollution.

The metro and Delhi Transport Corporation announced decisions to augment services by pressing more trains and buses into service, in a bid to reduce dependence on private vehicles.

On Twitter, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it was "an emergency" and that his office was "continuously trying" to fix a meeting with his counterparts in Punjab and Haryana on stubble burning, a practice which aggravates air pollution in Delhi.

However, EPCA member Sunita Narain cautioned against putting too much hope in temporary solutions such as closure of schools and deplored the "lack of political will" in executing tougher decisions.

Subsequently, the LG directed that agencies such as the municipal corporations and the Delhi Metro should strictly enforce the decisions taken by the EPCA, including hiking parking fares by four times.

The civic bodies were dilly-dallying in executing the EPCA's orders. However, it was decided that metro will not have to slash commuting fares temporarily as it already has a differential pricing system for peak and off-peak hours in place.

In its health advisory, the government said people should stay indoors as much as possible as the "smog is poisonous" and may create many health hazards like asthma attacks and other breathing complications.

The day-long average air quality index of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) had a score of 478 on a scale of 500, indicating 'severe' levels of pollution, while many individual stations recorded AQI as high as 487.

If the score touches 500 and persists there for at least 48 hours, measures like odd-even and a ban on construction and demolition activities will come into force across the Delhi-NCR under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP).

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot told PTI that the government was ready to implement the odd-even car-rationing scheme and arrangements were underway to press more buses into service.

"We will enforce odd-even in Delhi if air quality turns severe plus. I have also directed DTC to procure 500 buses on short-term basis to augment public transport till March. Metro has also been asked to hire around 300 buses for 15-20 days if odd-even is implemented," Gahlot said, adding that two-wheelers will be exempted from the scheme as and when it is rolled out.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (DMRC) said it would run an additional 186 train trips from tomorrow.

"Cities and administrations need to implement solutions and take bold decisions to reduce emissions. The range of actions recommended and directed by the EPCA is targeted at doing just that, and it is now up to the political leadership of Delhi and NCR to take their implementation forward," Narain, who is also the chief of the Centre For Science and Environment (CSE), said.

The EPCA had made it clear yesterday that its orders were legally binding and had to be enforced once the chief secretaries of the respective states issue them.

It was the Environment Ministry which, in January, had empowered the EPCA through a gazette notification to enforce the GRAP to combat air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region.

Meanwhile, in incidents of pile-ups at multiple locations on the busy Yamuna Expressway over 20 vehicles collided and around 22 people suffered minor injuries during the morning hours when visibility was a measly 10 metres.

For the second day in a row, operations at the Delhi airport were hampered and there were delays of up to two hours. Airport sources said that there were times when only one runway was operable as visibility dropped in the afternoon.

According to the forecast of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences' System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the 24-hour-average concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 will be around 420 and 678 micrograms per cubic metre.

The corresponding safe standards of these ultra-fine particulates, up to 30 times finer than the width of a human hair, are 60 and 100, respectively.

The secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Madhavan Rajeevan, said the smog in Delhi is not localised, but spread across the entire region. He said the conditions would persist for another two-three days.

The SAFAR suggested that the "sudden" intrusion of pollutant-laden smoke from neighbouring Punjab and Haryana from the night of November 6 led to the spike as the high quantity of moisture in the city's air trapped the particulates.

"There is absolutely no wind movement. Moreover, temperature is also not coming down substantially which could have resulted in the conversion of the fog into water and subsequent dispersion of the suspended particulates," CPCB scientist Dipankar Saha explained.

Apart from Delhi, neighbouring Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida were also in the 'severe' category.

Residents of the city complained of heavy breathing and watery eyes as the smog did not even spare living rooms or underground metro stations. In London smog of 1952 about 4,000 people had died prematurely when average PM levels were about 500 micrograms per cubic metre along with high SO2 levels.

On Wednesday, with a score of 448 in a scale of 500, the air quality index was at the year's worst. The Indian Medical Association had declared a "public health emergency" and appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.

Updated Date: Nov 17, 2017 11:49:57 IST