The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Secretary, C K Mishra, Monday held a high-level meeting with officials of multiple ministries and neighbouring states, wherein the Centre decided to continue with “stringent measures” to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
“We reviewed our action plan and decided that stringent measures will stay in place for the next 15 days. We might extend these measures till December 31. This includes preventing stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab and Western UP and controlling industrial emissions in Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gurgaon. In Delhi, we will monitor 13 pollution hotspots closely.
“We will also enforce a strict ban on construction activities and monitor the lifting of waste. Although most industries in Delhi have switched to PNG, a number of unregistered industries are still running. We will penalise organisations and individuals for flouting norms,” said Mishra.
“We are also looking at new technologies and have commissioned them to the Department of Science and Technology ... We are re-looking at a number of technologies like dust suppressants and hepa-filters,” he said, adding that both the CPCB and MoEF are monitoring the situation daily.
Chairman of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) S P S Parihar, who was also present at the meeting, said that over the past year, the body has levied fines up to Rs 1 crore against violators, especially those in the construction industry.
“This year, we issued notices to violators and are now following through with prosecutions," said Parihar.
The Chief Secretary of Delhi, civic body commissioners, district magistrates of Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida and officials of the CPCB and ministry of urban development were among those present at the meeting.
Delhi-NCR witnessed one of the worst episodes of smog this year, with AQI hovering between 490 and 500. Schools were directed to remain shut in view of the rising pollution, and Delhi government's odd-even scheme was also brought into force.