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Three month action plan to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR

Measures including strict action against visibly polluting vehicles and automatic identification of overloaded vehicles at the borders, are part of a three-month action plan devised Monday to deal with increasing air pollution in Delhi and NCR.

New Delhi: Measures including strict action against visibly polluting vehicles and automatic identification of overloaded vehicles at the borders, are part of a three-month action plan devised Monday to deal with increasing air pollution in Delhi and NCR.

In the meeting attended by environment ministers and officials of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, the state governments proposed various measures to combat air pollution.

Delhi government proposed to launch online monitoring system to map air polluting activities in the city by June.

Strict action will be taken against visibly polluting vehicles, for which special arrangements will be made in coordination with traffic police. The centers issuing Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates in Delhi will come under the scanner of government for strict compliance of rules and regulations and will be checked for using accurate equipments, it said.

"Delhi government will conduct regular checking of PUC centers to ensure their equipments are not tempered with and they are using proper mechanism for issuing certificates," Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar told reporters after the meeting.

The problems of overloading trucks contributing majorly to air pollution while crossing Delhi late night will be specially looked into by the Delhi government.

"Automatic number plate recognition system will be launched by government to check non-destined vehicles. This system will keep record of all vehicles entering Delhi," he said.

Construction and demolition waste disposal plants will be built one in East and two in South Delhi by the municipal corporations. The Corporations have issued new directions against 'no-burning at all' and will also appoint ward-wise nodal officer who will register complaints against burning waste across Delhi, the minister added.

Representatives from Delhi Municipal Corporations, traffic police and NTPC also attended the meeting.

North Municipal Corporation will increase the capacity of its four horticulture-to-waste plants, apart from establishing plasma gasification plant which will convert horticulture waste into energy, a first of its kind initiative in Asia.

With regards to dust, corporations will purchase small mechanical sweepers for easy access to small roads of the city. Currently, around 150 km of roads are mechanically cleaned in Delhi.

Traffic police has also tightened noose on violators of lane driving and PUC. "Traffic police has issued 48,000 challans between 20 February and 12 March for not following lane discipline and 34,000 challans were issued under PUC violations last year," Javadekar said.

NTPC's Badarpur Thermal Power Station has announced to reduce its pollution load by two-thirds in three months by retro-fitting its unit No 4 and 5 and it has prepared a plant to phase out the first three units in a time bound manner.

Among the measures suggested by Haryana government, the most significant was the move to register only BS4 compliant vehicles in its districts falling under NCR, he said, asking other states to follow the initiative.

With regard to dust coming from stubble burning in Haryana, the state proposed a new technological project to generate essential oil from it. Officials said FIRs are being registered against people burning stubble, which is acting as a strong deterrent against air polluting activity.

Haryana government also expressed its commitment on speedy completion of infrastructural projects like Manesar-Palwal and Kondli-Manesar bypass apart from opening additional monitoring stations in Sonipat and Panipat. At present there is one each operational in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Rohtak.

Rajasthan government has prepared an action plan to check air pollution generated by industrial units in Bhiwadi by checking their fuel quality and has issued directions for non-burning of waste.

Similarly, Uttar Pradesh proposed to convert 18 of its coal-based air polluting industries in NCR districts of UP into gas driven units within three months. It will also launch air quality monitoring stations in Noida and Ghaziabad.