Panel orders closure of educational institutions in NCR to fight pollution

Panel orders closure of educational institutions in NCR to fight pollution

A central panel on Friday ordered closing of educational institutions in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the region.

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) also directed that industrial operations and processes in NCR not running on piped natural gas or other cleaner fuels would be allowed to run only five days a week, Monday to Friday.

All schools, colleges and educational institutions in NCR will remain closed, allowing only online mode of education, except for the purpose of conduct of examinations and laboratory practical, the commission said.

It also said its earlier directions on industries would continue. According to these directions, all industries in NCR still using unapproved fuels would be closed by the respective governments with immediate effect. Also the NCR states and the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi must enforce a strict ban on use of diesel generators, except for emergency services.

The commission also stopped the entry of trucks in Delhi, except electric ones and those running on compressed natural gas, besides trucks carrying essential commodities.

The commission directed that the chief secretaries of the respective states and the Delhi government would have to ensure implementation of these directions.

Also read: ‘We give you 24 hours’: SC criticises Delhi, Centre over pollution crisis

“In view of the need to prevent further deterioration of environment and towards improvement of air quality in Delhi and NCR, the commission, in exercise of its powers conferred upon it (by)… the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021, directs that these measures shall be implemented with strict force with immediate effect, until further orders,” it read.

The CAQM, an executive body set up by the Ministry of Environment earlier this year to oversee measures to curb air pollution in NCR, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, also constituted task forces for each of these states to implement, enforce, monitor and report compliance status of its orders.

Delhi’s air quality deteriorated sharply after Diwali last month, with farm fires being blamed as a major source of pollutants. A month on, the city and its adjoining areas are still gasping for air.

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