‘Early’ GRAP to keep pol­lu­tion in NCR at bay Stag­ger of­fice hours to fight bad air, LG asks Ke­jri­wal

Full Scheme In Force From Oct 15; Haryana Told To Fo­cus On Waste Burn­ing Con­struc­tion sites fined 45L in 3 days

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK TIMES NEWS NET­WORK TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: In no mood to take any risk this year, En­vi­ron­ment Pol­lu­tion (Pre­ven­tion and Con­trol) Au­thor­ity chair­man Bhure Lal has asked Delhi and its neigh­bour­ing states to start en­forc­ing the ba­sic mea­sures men­tioned un­der the Graded Re­sponse Ac­tion Plan (GRAP) with­out any de­lay. To en­sure that pol­lu­tion lev­els stay un­der con­trol in the re­gion, some of the mea­sures fall­ing un­der the first cat­e­gory of the plan should be taken now it­self. GRAP is to be en­forced in the cap­i­tal from Oc­to­ber 15 on­wards this year.

On Wednes­day, EPCA held a meet­ing with the of­fi­cials from Haryana through video­con­fer­enc­ing and asked them to strictly en­force night pa­trolling and pre­vent open waste burn­ing. “We car­ried out field vis­its in Haryana last week and found in­stances of waste burn­ing at sev­eral lo­ca­tions. Pitch black smoke was also recorded at sev­eral in­dus­tries. Dur­ing the day, they may be us­ing PNG, but they switch to other fu­els at night. This was hap­pen­ing in Farid­abad and Pa­ni­pat, and we asked Haryana to im­ple­ment night-pa­trolling at all lo­ca­tions,” Lal told TOI.

“The ba­sic mea­sures sug­gested to these states fall un­der the first cat­e­gory of GRAP. They in­clude pre­ven­tion of waste burn­ing, check­ing for pol­lu­tion in in­dus­tries, en­forc­ing dust con­trol Im­pose heavy fines to stop garbage burn­ing

En­force pol­lu­tion reg­u­la­tions in all in­dus­tries

Stop ply­ing of vis­i­bly pol­lut­ing ve­hi­cles

Im­ple­ment dust con­trol norms, par­tic­u­larly at con­struc­tion sites

Wa­ter fly ash ponds ev­ery al­ter­nate day

norms and do­ing mech­a­nised sweep­ing among oth­ers. If done prop­erly, pol­lu­tion will stay un­der con­trol,” said Lal.

“De­tails of the places where rub­ber waste, mu­nic­i­pal waste and plas­tic waste had been dumped in the open were also pro­vided to the Haryana pol­lu­tion con­trol board on Wednes­day, di­rect­ing for im­me­di­ate ac­tion against the vi­o­la­tors.”

The Supreme Court-ap­pointed EPCA has been tak­ing meet­ings with sev­eral states over the last two weeks

to as­sess pre­pared­ness over im­ple­men­ta­tion of GRAP. Lal will meet the of­fi­cials con­cerned in Delhi on Fri­day.

EPCA mem­ber Su­nita Narain said that the in­struc­tions are be­ing pro­vided to the states to sim­ply en­sure bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion and that they are well pre­pared to en­force GRAP. “There will be no need to en­force mea­sures fall­ing un­der the higher cat­e­gories if these are en­forced prop­erly,” said Narain.

GRAP has a se­ries of im­me­di­ate and emer­gency mea­sures, spread out across four cat­e­gories — ‘mod­er­ate to poor,’ ‘very poor,’ ‘se­vere,’ and ‘se­vere plus’.

Each cat­e­gory will au­to­mat­i­cally be en­forced from Oc­to­ber 15 on­wards, de­pend­ing on the air qual­ity. While the first ‘mod­er­ate to ‘poor’ cat­e­gory in­cludes mea­sures like strin­gent en­force­ment of PUC checks, pre­ven­tion of waste burn­ing and reg­u­lat­ing pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries, mea­sures like shut­ting down of diesel gen­er­a­tor sets and en­hanc­ing park­ing fees kick into place when it reaches the ‘very poor’ cat­e­gory’.

The ‘se­vere’ and ‘se­vere plus’ cat­e­gories in­clude strin­gent mea­sures like shut­ting down hot mix plants and stone crush­ers, in­ten­si­fy­ing pub­lic trans­port, stop­ping en­try of trucks into Delhi, stop­ping con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity and even im­ple­ment­ing the odd-even scheme.

Last year, GRAP was en­forced on Oc­to­ber 17, with mea­sures un­der both these cat­e­gories au­to­mat­i­cally be­ing im­ple­mented. New Delhi: Lieu­tenant gov­er­nor Anil Bai­jal on Wednes­day asked chief min­is­ter Arvind Ke­jri­wal to look into the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing stag­gered of­fice hours in the cap­i­tal to com­bat con­ges­tion and air pol­lu­tion.

“Dis­cussed mea­sures to re­duce air pol­lu­tion and con­ges­tion in Delhi. Re­quested to ex­plore amongst other mea­sures, op­tion of stag­gered open­ing/ clos­ing hours of of­fices & other es­tab­lish­ments to re­duce con­ges­tion and re­sul­tant air pol­lu­tion,” Bai­jal later tweeted.

Ke­jri­wal tweeted that he had re­quested Bai­jal to direct the de­part­ments un­der his ju­ris­dic­tion to en­sure in­ter­de­part­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion with the govern­ment for the odd-even road ra­tioning scheme from Novem­ber 4 to 15. The CM also wrote that he had briefed Bai­jal about the steps planned to re­duce air pol­lu­tion. “He as­sured us of his sup­port and sug­gested that open­ing/clos­ing hours of of­fices be stag­gered. The govt will def­i­nitely im­ple­ment this,” Ke­jri­wal added.

In 2016, Cen­tral Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Board (CPCB) had di­rected Delhi and other states in the na­tional cap­i­tal re­gion (NCR) to con­sider in­tro­duc­tion of flex­i­ble of­fice tim­ings to re­duce peak-hour traf­fic. CPCB had hoped that flex­i­ble hours would re­duce to-and-fro peak-time traf­fic and con­ges­tion in NCR. Last year, too, a CPCB task force mem­ber had said a pro­posal of push­ing back school tim­ings by two hours and bring­ing up mar­ket and of­fice tim­ings on high pol­lu­tion days was dis­cussed.

Ac­cord­ing to a govern­ment state­ment re­leased on Wednes­day, Ke­jri­wal re­quested the LG for has­sle-free im­ple­men­ta­tion of the odd-even scheme like in 2016, when it was in­tro­duced.

Ear­lier this month, the CM an­nounced a seven-point ac­tion plan con­tain­ing var­i­ous mea­sures to com­bat high-level of air pol­lu­tion “caused due to stub­ble burn­ing in the neigh­bour­ing states” dur­ing win­ter. This in­cluded odd-even, mass dis­tri­bu­tion of masks, mech­a­nised sweep­ing and wa­ter sprin­kling on roads, tree plan­ta­tion and spe­cialised plans for 12 pol­lu­tion hotspots in the city. New Delhi: The Delhi Pol­lu­tion Con­trol Com­mit­tee on Wednes­day said it had im­posed fines of Rs 45 lakh on con­struc­tion sites in the cap­i­tal that had not taken ad­e­quate dust con­trol mea­sures. The pol­lu­tion con­trol body started the crack­down on Mon­day, and warned con­struc­tion sites of clo­sures if cor­rec­tive mea­sures are not taken.

“Since Mon­day, 23 sites were in­spected and a to­tal fine of Rs 45 lakh was im­posed on agen­cies who failed to take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion to pre­vent dust emis­sion. In some in­stances, the penalty went up to Rs 5 lakh. Fail­ure to adopt cor­rec­tive mea­sures will re­sult in en­hanced penal­ties,” said DPCC in a state­ment.

The pol­lu­tion con­trol body said that sev­eral teams have been con­sti­tuted to specif­i­cally mon­i­tor con­struc­tion hotspots and ar­te­rial roads where there is heavy move­ment of traf­fic, lead­ing to dust emis­sion. Of­fi­cials say the drive will con­tinue through the win­ter and if cor­rec­tive mea­sures are not taken at sites, the sites will be shut down by them.

“The im­pact of dust be­comes only worse dur­ing win­ter as the dust par­ti­cles get trapped in the air, mak­ing it even more im­por­tant to curb dust emis­sions,” said a DPCC of­fi­cial.

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