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Published On: Sun, Nov 3rd, 2019

Flights diverted due to low visibility caused by the pollution

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pjimage-14-1NEW DELHI : The pollution in National Capital and its adjoining areas reaching a critical stage, the Centre indicated that it will keep tabs on the matter. Pollution levels crossed the 600 mark this morning that made breathing difficult and lowered visibility that affected road and air traffic.
Pollution levels crossed the 600-mark this morning, covering the city in a grey blanket of smog. Pollution caused a major disruption at Delhi airport on Sunday as 37 flights were diverted to other airports due to heavy smog, officials said.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal called the situation “unbearable” and said the people of Delhi were suffering for “no fault of theirs”.Pollution levels in Delhi’s neighbouring areas were high too, forcing the authorities in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, to shut schools till Tuesday. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the matter tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said he has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice for compensation to farmers on the management of agricultural stubble, but there has been no response.
“The central govt has to step in and find a solution to the crisis,” he tweeted as the pollution levels in Delhi and its neighbouring areas spiked this morning, leading to low visibility that affected air and road traffic.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who made it clear that smoke from burning stubbles across Punjab and Haryana has been the main contributor to the smog, today tweeted that the people of Delhi were suffering for “no fault of theirs”.
“Punjab and Haryana has 27 lakh farmers. How do we reach all of them? How many more years do we have to take it? These issues need to be discussed,” said the Amarinder Singh , who has already written to the Centre asking for urgent intervention.

In an emotional letter to PM Modi on Saturday, Mr Singh wrote, “No Indian, and definitely no person in Punjab, is oblivious to the misery of our brethren in the national capital, whatever many around the country might have been led to believe.”
“How can a country be called developed when its capital city has been reduced to a gas chamber, not by any natural disaster but a series of man-made ones?” the letter read.
PK Mishra, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, reviewed the situation. Senior officials from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, joined the meeting through video conference in the evening today. The Cabinet Secretary will monitor the situation with these states on a daily basis, the government said.
Expressing hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will understand and respond positively to his letter on the grave issue of worsening air pollution in Delhi, Amarinder Singh said his government was fully seized of the problem and was working committedly to put an end to stubble burning.

While admitting that Punjab was also contributing to the Delhi smog due to the westerly upper winds, including those coming from Pakistan, Amarinder Singh said to put the blame entirely on his state was “absolutely incorrect”.Statistics showed that the parameters on the factors relating to pollution were higher in Delhi, he added.
The Haryana government has ordered closure of all schools in Guugaon and Faridabad on November 4 and 5. The timing for schools in Sirsa districts too have been changed and they would hold classes between 10 am and 3 pm till November 6.
A tweet from Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal read: “Pollution has reached unbearable levels across North India. Delhi government taken many steps. Delhiites have made many sacrifices. Delhi suffering for no fault of theirs. Punjab CM also expressed concern. Centre should take immediate steps to provide relief. We will support Centre in all initiatives”.
On Monday, the Supreme Court is expected to take up a report from the Environment Pollution Control Authority or EPCA, on the pollution caused by stubble-burning.
Delhi is starting the odd-even road rationing scheme from tomorrow, which will run till November 15. Under it, vehicles with odd and even-numbered registration plates will run on odd and even days of the week. Schools and colleges are shut till Tuesday.

Pollution in the National Capital Region was declared a public health emergency on Friday by the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority after pollution levels entered into the “emergency” category for the first time since January.

In Uttar Pradesh, the state authorities deployed an air purifier at the Taj Mahal to save the iconic monument. The air purifier van has the capacity to purify 15 lakh cubic metre air in eight hours within a 300 metre radius, reported news agency Press Trust of India, quoting officials.
(Bureau Report With Agency Inputs ).

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