The ban on construction and demolition activities in Delhi has been lifted, Capital’s Environment Minister Gopal Rai announced on Monday, PTI reported.
The minister said the city’s air quality had improved. Delhi’s air quality index on Monday morning was 315, which falls in the “very poor” category, according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, or Safar. On Sunday morning, the AQI value was 352.
Rai held a meeting with senior officers on Monday to review the pollution control measures. He said that the government will decide on opening schools and allowing entry of trucks on November 24.
In an order issued on Sunday, Delhi’s environment department had said that work from home for government employees and the ban on the entry of trucks carrying non-essential commodities into Delhi will be extended till November 26 in view of air pollution.
An order issued by the Capital’s environment department said due to a poor air quality forecast, restrictions on the movement of vehicles needed to be extended.
“Stop entry of trucks in Delhi except the trucks carrying essential commodities till November 26, subject to further review for an extension of this date,” the order stated.
The Delhi government added that all its offices, except those involved in emergency services, will be closed till November 26. “All the officers/officials shall work from home,” it said.
Because of the unhealthy air quality, schools in Delhi have been closed till further orders.
The air quality and Delhi and its neighbouring cities deteriorated after Diwali on November 4, shrouding the region in a toxic smog. The Supreme Court took up the case as the pollution reached dangerous levels.
The air pollution in the Capital usually gets worse in October and November because of unfavourable wind speed and emission of fumes by the local traffic in the city.
Stubble burning by farmers in Delhi’s neighbouring states has often been blamed for the pollution but the Centre told the Supreme Court last week that burning of farm waste accounted for just 10% of the emissions on an average through the year.
On November 17, the Commission for Air Quality Management released a detailed set of guidelines to combat the pollution crisis in Delhi and its neighbouring areas. Working from home, banning the entry of trucks, and closing schools were the among the measures suggested by the commission.