Air pollution: Why Delhi may see more curbs if India win World cup

The potential victory of India in the Cricket World Cup has raised concerns about a potential increase in pollution in Delhi, as many fans are expected to celebrate with firecrackers. This possible scenario, which could lead to an extension of GRAP IV restrictions in the capital, was discussed during a recent review meeting of senior officials, with the chief secretary in attendance, focusing on the enforcement of GRAP IV measures.

A senior official from the Delhi government commented, \”The extension of GRAP IV for a few more days is under consideration due to the rising instances of stubble burning, slow wind speed, and the potential widespread use of firecrackers if India emerges victorious in the final on Sunday. This aspect was indeed discussed in the review meeting.\”

While the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas determines GRAP implementation based on AQI, the assessment by government agencies is also taken into account. A six-member special task force, comprising officials such as the special commissioner of transport, DCP (HQ) traffic police, deputy commissioner, revenue (HQ), and chief engineers of MCD and PWD, has been established to ensure the proper implementation and monitoring of GRAP rules. The primary responsibility of this team is to coordinate daily with departments, address their challenges, and provide the government with a report on GRAP implementation.

Environment Minister Gopal Rai highlighted that environmental experts anticipate the AQI to remain in the very poor range for the next 2 to 3 days due to the current pollution levels. Under GRAP rules, fines have been imposed on 16,689 BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel vehicles, with a penalty of 20,000 under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The Transport Department and Delhi Police have deployed 84 teams and 284 teams, respectively, for enforcement.

Since November 3, 19,227 vehicles have been fined for a vehicle pollution check. Additionally, under GRAP-4, 6,046 trucks unrelated to essential goods and services have been turned away from Delhi\’s borders, and 1,316 vehicles entering Delhi have been fined. Minister Gopal Rai emphasized that teams have conducted on-site inspections of 3,895 construction sites under GRAP, with challans issued to 921 sites and a fine of 1.85 crore imposed. A total of 591 teams have been deployed to inspect construction sites and address violations of norms through continuous inspections.

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