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Delhi govt’s “Red light on, gaadi off” drive extended by 15 days: Gopal Rai

The Delhi government suggested at the meeting that the neighbouring states should implement the work-from-home policy and imposed a ban on industries and construction work to effectively handle the pollution problem.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Delhi government’s campaign aimed at controlling air pollution, “Red light on, gaadi off”, which was to end on 18 November, has been extended by 15 days in view of the situation prevailing in the national capital. The campaign, which began on 18 October, will continue till 3 December as part of its second phase.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the Centre should clarify its claim concerning the contribution of farm fires to the pollution level in the National Capital Region (NCR).

He said in its affidavit, the Centre mentioned both 4 per cent and 35-40 per cent stubble burning contribution to air pollution. “It should be clarified. How can both be correct?”, he asserted.

The Supreme Court had yesterday chided the Delhi government over its affidavit submitted in connection with a pollution-related case and observed that its affidavit was all about bashing farmers and blaming stubble burning for much of the pollution caused in the city.

Gopal Rai said a meeting of senior officials from UP, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan was held today to discuss the pollution crisis in Delhi and the NCR. There were other stakeholders too in the meeting as directed by the Supreme Court.

The Delhi government suggested at the meeting that the neighbouring states should implement the work-from-home policy and imposed a ban on industries and construction work to effectively handle the pollution problem.

Gopal Rai said, “In today’s meeting with officials of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP, we proposed that the work-from-home policy should be implemented in the NCR region; construction work should be banned and industries too should be shut in the region.”

On Saturday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced different emergency measures to control air pollution in the national capital. These measures included closure of schools for a week, a ban on construction activity and implementation of the policy of work from home in government offices as well as the private sector.

Gopla Rai added on Monday, teams of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee went to different construction sites to check whether the measures announced by the government were being implemented or not and they found that construction had been stopped .

Today’s meeting of the neighbouring states — Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan — was held following a direction given by the Supreme Court to the Commission for Air Quality Management in this regard.