The Union government’s air quality panel on Sunday directed authorities in the National Capital Region to lift restrictions imposed under the final stage of the Graded Response Action Plan to control air pollution.

The Commission for Air Quality Management lifted the ban on the plying of non-BS VI diesel-run light motor vehicles and the entry of trucks into Delhi under the fourth stage of the action plan, according to PTI. The ban was imposed three days ago.

“As the present AQI [air quality index] level of Delhi is around 339 which is about 111 AQI points below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-IV actions and preventive/ mitigative/ restrictive actions under all stages up to Stage-IV are underway, there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI,” the panel said.

The commission noted that forecasts by the India Meteorological Department and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology do not indicate that air quality will worsen.

With the lifting of restrictions under the fourth stage of the action plan, construction and demolition activities related to roads, highways and pipelines can resume, according to NDTV.

However, under the third stage of the action plan, the ban on non-essential construction work and brick kilns still continues. Further, primary schools in Delhi have been directed to remain shut till November 8.

At 8.10 pm on Sunday, Delhi’s overall air quality index was in the “very poor” category at 322, according to Union Ministry of Earth Sciences’ System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, or SAFAR.

The number of farm fires in Punjab reduced sharply to 599 on Sunday as compared to 2,817 a day earlier, according to the Indian Agricultural Research Organisation.

However, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research said that stubble-burning incidents in Punjab rose by 12.59% year-on-year in 2022, PTI reported. Meanwhile, the number of such incidents reduced in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai will head a high-level meeting on Monday to discuss the directions by the Commission for Air Quality Management. An unidentified official told the news agency said that decisions are likely to be taken on reopening primary schools and an order directing 50% of government staff members to work from home.