New Delhi: All educational institutions in Delhi and neighbouring cities have been closed till further notice, according to a directive by the Commission for Air Quality Management for the national capital which was issued late Tuesday night. The order comes as the city is battling toxic smog for days now.
The government offices in the city have been directed and the private ones have been advised to let 50 per cent of their staff work from home.
Six of the 11 thermal power plants in a 300 km radius of Delhi have been asked to remain inoperative till November 21 with exemptions.
Trucks, other than those carrying essential supplies, will not be allowed entry into Delhi till November 21 and this restriction may be extended depending on the conditions.
These would be applicable with immediate effect.
The directives, however, do not include lockdown as suggested by the Supreme Court while hearing a case filed by a minor Delhi resident, who has claimed that the severe air pollution is causing health hazards for him and other children.
The Commission for Air Quality Management for Delhi and Surrounding Areas (CAQM), an agency under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), on Tuesday held an emergency meeting wherein it was decided to shut down all industries that are running on non-gas fuels for all NCR states; no diesel or petrol vehicles more than 15 years to run on Delhi roads and no plying of visibly polluting vehicles with stricter checks about PUC certificate.
It also included deploying an adequate number of buses/public transport; deploying anti-smog guns, water sprinklers and augmentation of dust suppressants thrice a day; penalty on persons/organisations stacking construction and demolition waste on roads, roadsides and a total ban on DG sets as per GRAP (graded response action plan, already in place since a month), the meeting decided.
Earlier, hearing the petition on Monday, the Supreme Court had reprimanded the Centre and the states, especially the Delhi government, for their failure to reign in air pollution that had reached hazardous levels last week and is currently hovering on 'severe' and a very poor' level.
The latest directions came late Tuesday night after an emergency meeting was held on the directions of the Supreme Court. The meeting was attended by members of the Commission, chief secretaries, additional chief secretaries and principal secretaries of the departments concerned, such as transport and urban development.
The Commission has asked for a compliance report from the officials concerned before November 22.