On Tuesday, the Central government promptly lifted the Stage-III restrictions of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) across the entire National Capital Region (NCR). This decision followed a significant improvement in overall air quality reported by the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM), attributed to light rainfall and increased wind speed, as per the news agency PTI.
Taking into account favorable meteorological trends and forecasts, the CAQM, a statutory body responsible for formulating pollution combat strategies, chose to immediately lift Stage-III GRAP restrictions across the NCR, which had been in effect since November 2, 2023.
The recorded average Air Quality Index (AQI) for the national capital at 4 pm daily displayed a gradual improvement from 395 on Monday to 312 on Tuesday.
Quoting the CAQM, PTI stated, \”The air quality forecasts by the India Meteorological Department/Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology do not indicate the average air quality of Delhi to move to the \’severe\’ category in the coming days for which forecast is available.\”
However, Stage I and II restrictions will persist and be subject to periodic monitoring by a sub-committee to prevent further deterioration of air quality in the NCR and adjoining areas.
Earlier, on November 2, the pollution control panel had enforced Stage-III restrictions, including a halt on non-essential construction work, stone crushing, and mining activities in the NCR region. Additionally, restrictions were imposed on the operation of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Budh Nagar. With the removal of Stage-III restrictions, these specific measures no longer apply.
The panel stressed the importance of responsible agencies adhering to the actions outlined in Stage I and II of GRAP. Residents were also encouraged to diligently follow guidelines to prevent the re-imposition of Stage-III GRAP in the NCR.
Below is a list of restrictions under Stage II of GRAP:
- Regulated operations of DG sets across NCR
- Increased parking fees to discourage private transport
- Remedial measures for sectors contributing to adverse air quality
- Water sprinkling and use of dust suppressants every alternate day, especially during non-peak hours on roads, particularly at hotspots and heavy traffic corridors
- Strict enforcement of dust control measures at construction and demolition sites
- Emphasis on the use of mass transport like CNG/electric buses and metro services.