The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Tuesday suggested four steps to curb the rising pollution levels in the National Capital Region, reported PTI. The Supreme Court-appointed panel recommended that the parking fees in the NCR be increased four times while it urged the Delhi Metro to slash fares during lean hours for at least 10 days and add more coaches.
It also instructed Delhi and neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana to strengthen their public transport system by introducing more buses. “Delhi and all state governments in NCR to immediately intensify public transport service by ensuring there are more buses on roads,” said EPCA, according to the Hindustan Times.
The EPCA even asked the Delhi government to consider reintroducing the odd-even policy if the pollution levels do not reduce. The odd-even scheme prohibits vehicles from plying on roads based on the last digit of their registration numbers. Only vehicles with numbers ending with an odd digit can ply on odd dates while others are allowed only on even dates. However, all cars are allowed to ply on Sundays.
The EPCA ordered complete closure of brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers across the region till further notice. It also said that road construction agencies will be fined Rs 50,000 if found violating dust pollution norms in the NCR.
The Delhi-National Capital Region woke up to thick smog on Tuesday, as pollution rose to dangerous levels. A public health emergency was declared after the air quality dropped to the “severe” category.
Earlier in the day, the National Green Tribunal criticised the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for not taking measures to prevent pollution levels from rising in the region. A bench headed by the tribunal’s chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar, called it an “emergency situation” and asked the state governments to act on the tribunal’s instructions and update the court by Wednesday. The tribunal also asked the Central Pollution Control Board to list the emergency directions it has issued to tackle the health hazard.
The Delhi High Court, on the other hand, asked Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan governments to inform it about the actions taken against stubble burning. But the bench said that “stubble burning may be the visible villain but there are other contributory factors too”.