‘Odd-Even Scheme May Not Be the Solution to Air Pollution’: SC

Earlier last week, the EPCA had declared a public health emergency in Delhi NCR region.

Updated15 Nov 2019, 12:56 PM IST
27 min read

Air quality in the Delhi-NCR region remained ‘severe’ on Friday, 15 November, for the fourth consecutive day. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said a final call on extending the odd-even scheme would be taken on Monday.

The Delhi High Court, on Thursday, while hearing a suo-moto petition on air pollution in Delhi, pulled up Delhi Government departments and other concerned authorities over the hazardous level of air pollution in the city.

Calling the odd-eve scheme "half-baked," the apex court said it might not be the solution to control the deteriorating air quality in Delhi.

  • Schools reopened in Delhi NCR on Wednesday after being shut due to pollution
  • The odd-even road space rationing scheme started in Delhi on 4 November will continue for the next two weeks till 15 November
  • Delhi’s air quality on 1 November reached ‘emergency’ category for the first time since January
  • Delhi govt has procured 50 lakh N95 masks for distribution among all schoolchildren in the state
  • An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’, while the AQI above 500 falls in ‘severe plus’

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8:59 AM, 01 Nov

Smoke From Stubble Burning Causing Pollution in Delhi, Kejriwal Tells Children

CM Kejriwal on Friday told school children in the city that smoke emanating from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana was causing air pollution in Delhi and asked them to write letters to chief ministers of the two states urging them to control it.

Kejriwal distributed masks to school children as part of the government's initiative to protect them from pollution and also explained children about stubble burning. The Delhi government has procured 50 lakh N95 masks for distribution among children in private and government schools.

9:24 AM, 01 Nov

All Schools in Delhi to Remain Closed Till 5 November

All schools in Delhi will remain closed till 5 November, following rise in pollution levels due to stubble burning, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced on Friday, 1 November.

"In the wake of rising level of pollution caused by stubble burning, the Delhi government has decided to shut schools till November 5," Kejriwal tweeted.

Earlier on Friday, the education department of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation ordered the closure of 581 schools under the civic body on 4 November due to "prevailing poor air quality".

9:28 AM, 01 Nov

EPCA Asks for Advisory to Be Issued for People to Minimise Exposure to Pollution

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority on Friday asked public authorities to issue advisories asking people to minimise their personal exposure to pollution as far as possible.

The blanket of haze over Delhi thickened on Friday morning with the national capital's pollution levels increasing overnight. A Central Pollution Control Board official said the AQI entered the "severe plus" or "emergency" category late Thursday night, the first time since January this year.

EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said pollution touched "severe plus" levels early on Friday morning but came back to "severe" category later.

According to official data, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) at 1 pm on Friday was recorded at 480, which falls in the "severe" category.

12:11 PM, 01 Nov

Want Specific Timelines on Stubble Burning: CM Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference on Friday, 1 November, said he wants specific timelines from the Punjab, Haryana and Central governments, on when they will put an end to stubble burning.

The CM said that the odd-even scheme is coming into effect from Monday and, in light of that, government offices will have staggered opening times; either 9:30 am or 10:30 am.

He added that 50 lakh masks would be distributed to the people of Delhi, as an emergency measure.

“I went to a school today and when I asked, only 15 to 20 percent children said they burst crackers. It is extremely unfortunate that on social media some opposition leaders were inciting children to burst more crackers,” he said.

1:04 PM, 01 Nov

Govt Agency, L&T Among 9 Penalised for Pollution in Greater Noida

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) and engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) are among nine entities penalized for causing pollution by construction works in Greater Noida, officials said on Friday, according to PTI.

A total penalty of Rs 5.25 lakh was slapped on the nine entities by the regional office of Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), amid a health emergency being declared in Delhi-NCR as pollution levels deteriorated to the "severe plus" category.

1:07 PM, 01 Nov

Delhi Hospitals See Rise in Cases of Respiratory, Cardiac Complications

Hospitals reported a surge in the number of patients suffering from respiratory and breathing complications, with doctors advising residents, especially children and the elderly, to stay indoors as much as possible, reported PTI.

"Patients are coming with complaints of watery eyes, cough, breathing difficulty, allergy, exacerbation of asthma and and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD)," AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria said.

He added that children and those above the age of 60 are the worst affected when the pollution levels are high.

2:17 PM, 01 Nov

SC to Consider EPCA Pollution Control Report, Stubble-Burning Issue on 4 Nov

The Supreme Court will consider on Monday, 4 November, a special pollution control report filed by a panel appointed by it, the EPCA, and other issues including pollution caused by stubble-burning in the neighbouring states, according to PTI.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority in its report has among other things sought directions to NCR states to take steps to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from construction sites.

2:26 AM, 02 Nov

Air Quality Continues to Remain in 'Severe' Category

Major pollutants PM 2.5 at 500 and PM 10 at 500 remain in ‘severe’ category in Lodhi Road area, according to Air Quality Index data.

5:40 AM, 02 Nov

Challans Issued Against Farmers for Stubble Burning: Agriculture Deputy Director

The agriculture deputy director of Haryana’s Kaithal district has said that the authorities have issued challans against 133 farmers for burning stubble.

6:02 AM, 02 Nov

Ola, Uber to Deactivate Surge Pricing During Odd-Even Scheme

Cab aggregators Ola and Uber have said that they will not resort to surge pricing during the 12-day odd-even road rationing scheme starting from 4 November.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Ola said it will extend its support to the Delhi government's initiative to curb pollution. The implementation of the odd-even scheme offers an opportunity to further unlock the potential of shared mobility.

"Continuing our efforts to provide commuters an optimum and seamless experience, we will have no peak pricing on rides booked on the Ola platform during the odd-even period. We encourage all driver-partners, passengers, and citizens to participate and make the third edition of the scheme, a success," Arun Srinivas, the chief sales and marketing officer at Ola, said.

Last month, Uber had announced to deactivate surge pricing during the implementation of odd-even scheme in the national capital.

6:57 AM, 02 Nov

EPCA Has Sought Directions to Neighbouring States to Curb Pollution

In its report before the Supreme Court, EPCA has sought directions to neighbouring states to take steps to stop burning of waste, toxic emissions from industries and dust from from construction sites.

The Supreme Court said it will consider a special pollution control report filed by the EPCA on 4 November.

12:05 PM, 02 Nov

Rains Hit Delhi-NCR

Some respite is expected from the ongoing spell of pollution in Delhi-NCR as rains hit various parts of the region on Saturday evening.

1:16 PM, 02 Nov

Javadekar-Atishi Spar on Twitter Over Delhi Pollution

Union Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday attacked the Delhi government over allegedly not paying its share in the metro rail development in the capital

Responding to this, AAP’s Atishi tweeted saying that he has not met environment ministers of north Indian states despite three meetings being called.

4:56 PM, 02 Nov

Khattar Calls for Meeting of CMs to Discuss Pollution Situation

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has written to Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to convene a meeting of CMs of Delhi and neighbouring states at the earliest – preferably on Sunday – to discuss the pollution situation. He also slammed the “tendency of some stakeholders to play petty politics” over the issue.

4:51 AM, 03 Nov

Delhi Air Quality at Hazardous Levels Despite Light Rains

Delhi woke up to mild showers early in the morning on Sunday, 3 November. However, the rains failed to provide any respite from the 'severe' level of pollution which worsened to 800+ in some areas of the NCR region.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was at 878 at 10:00 pm in Anand Vihar, 999 at Mother Dairy Plant in Parparganj, 824 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

5:54 AM, 03 Nov

NCR Schools to Remain Shut Till 5 November

All schools in Noida will remain shut till 5 November following the deteriorating air quality, as per the orders from the District Magistrate.

6:22 AM, 03 Nov

32 Flights Diverted Over Low Visibility

According to statement by the Delhi airport, 32 flights have been diverted from Delhi due to low visibility. Flight operations have been affected since 9 am at Terminal-3 of Delhi Airport, reports ANI.

7:51 AM, 03 Nov

As Delhi Faces a Pollution Crisis, India Gets Ready to Play Bangladesh in a T20 Match

India is set to play Bangladesh in a T20 match in Delhi despite concerns over the players’ health due to smog conditions in the city.

Speaking earlier over the issue, Bangladesh coach Russell Domingo said “It's only three hours so it's going to be easy. There maybe scratchy eyes, sore throat but that's ok. No one is dying.”

10:33 AM, 03 Nov

37 Flights Diverted at Delhi Airport Due to Low Visibility

37 flights were diverted between 9 am and 1 pm to places including Jaipur, Amritsar and Lucknow among others on Sunday, 3 November, due to low visibility at Delhi airport, according to ANI.

10:37 AM, 03 Nov

'Don't Politicise Pollution, Need to Find Solution to Stubble Burning Together': Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday, 3 November, said the issue of pollution should not be “politicised” and called on all neighbouring states and the Centre to “sit together” and deliberate on how to prevent stubble burning as the air quality in the national capital dipped to alarming levels.

Keriwal said his government was not indulging in “blame game” but looking for solutions to pollution caused by stubble burning.

Kejriwal further questioned the pace at which the Centre is distributing straw management machines to farmers to stop stubble burning.

11:33 AM, 03 Nov

Stubble Burning: Punjab Govt Initiates Action Against Over 2,923 Farmers

Punjab government has initiated action against as many as 2,923 farmers so far in the 20,729 cases of stubble burning reported till 1 November, in Punjab, Chief Minister's Office said, according to ANI.

11:35 AM, 03 Nov

High Level Meeting on 3 November To Tackle Air Pollution

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary of India, to hold a high level meeting on Sunday, through video conferencing, to tackle air pollution, according to ANI.

12:45 PM, 03 Nov

Delhi Government Issues Health Advisory for Public

The Delhi government has issued health advisory for public as the air pollution plunged to ‘severe plus’ category on Sunday, 3 November.

1:18 PM, 03 Nov

'I Fully Support This Call to Action': Priyanka Gandhi on Call for Bandh

Amid spike in air pollution in Delhi and surrounding cities, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday, 3 November, said she supported citizens’ call for bandh.

1:45 PM, 03 Nov

Principal Secretary to PM Holds High Level Meeting to Tackle Air Pollution

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister held high level meeting on Sunday, 3 November through video conferencing with Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, to tackle air pollution.

The situation will be monitored by Cabinet Secretary on a daily basis and State Chief Secretaries have been asked to monitor their districts 24x7, according to ANI.

2:56 PM, 03 Nov

Delhi Records Poorest Air Quality in 3 Years

Pollution levels in Delhi peaked to a three-year high on Sunday, 3 November as hundreds of distraught people took to social media to say they wanted to leave the city due to poor air quality.

According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the national capital's 24-hour average air quality index (AQI) stood at 494 at 4 pm on Sunday, the highest since 6 November 2016 when it was 497.

Twenty-one of the 37 air quality monitoring stations recorded the AQI between 490 and 500 with air quality sensors at Aya Nagar, Ashok Vihar, Anand Vihar and Aurobindo Marg peaked out at 7 pm.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), Faridabad with AQI 493, Noida (494), Ghaziabad (499) and Greater Noida (488), Gurugram (479), also breathed extremely polluted air.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences' air quality monitor, SAFAR, said the city's overall AQI reached as high as 708 around 5 pm, which is 14 times the safe level of 0-50.

3:28 PM, 03 Nov

Schools to Remain Closed on 4 & 5 November in Gurugram & Faridabad

All private, government and government-aided schools will remain closed on 4 and 5 November in Gurugram and Faridabad districts, Haryana Education Department said, according to ANI.

4:01 PM, 03 Nov

Delhi Congress Leaders Detained During Protest at CM's Residence

Delhi Congress President Subhash Chopra and several other leaders of the party were detained by the police on Sunday, 3 November, during a protest at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence against the high levels of air pollution in the city.

The protesters were detained after they attempted to sit on a dharna outside Kejriwal's Civil Lines residence.

Besides Chopra, former Delhi Congress President JP Agarwal and other senior leaders were detained and taken to the Civil Lines police station.

Around 40 protesters were detained and released subsequently, a Delhi Police officer said.

7:37 PM, 03 Nov

College Students Protest Against Govt’s 'Inability' to Counter Pollution Crises

Students from universities across Delhi on Sunday, 3 November, formed a human chain in Connaught Place to protest against “government’s inability” to handle the rising pollution levels in the city, PTI reported.

Students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ambedkar University and Jamia Millia Islamia attacked the Centre as well as the Delhi government “for their inadequate measures to counter the health emergency”.

Their demands included free rides for a month in the Delhi Metro and arranging 10,000 CNG DTC buses to control private vehicular movement.

They also reportedly demanded a ban on all construction activities and running of diesel generators for one month with guaranteed compensation to workers and no job losses.

Setting up solar panels in place of existing thermal polluting power plants and enforcing compliance of pollution standards for industries, was also one of their demands.

2:12 AM, 04 Nov

Delhi Pollution: Odd-Even Scheme From Today in Delhi

The odd-even scheme road space rationing scheme will kick in from 8 am on Monday, 4 November, with only even-numbered non-transport vehicles allowed on Delhi roads on the first day of the exercise.

"Namaste Delhi, odd-even is starting from today to reduce pollution. Please do follow it for yourself, your family, kids and your breath. Share cars. It will strengthen friendship, form relations, save petrol and pollution," Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said in an early morning tweet in Hindi.

3:36 AM, 04 Nov

AQI 491 in Delhi's Anand Vihar

Air Quality Index (AQI) is recorded at 491 (severe) at Anand Vihar, as per Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data.

4:57 AM, 04 Nov

'Odd-Even Will Give Some Relief,' Says Manish Sisodia

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia urged people to follow the odd-even rationing scheme, adding that it will provide “some relief” from pollution.

5:58 AM, 04 Nov

Pollution Levels Drop Marginally, Air Quality Still 'Severe'

Pollution levels in the national capital dropped marginally on Monday, 4 November, due to a slight increase in wind speed, but the air quality remained in the 'severe' category.

At 4.38 am, Delhi's air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 438. The AQI at Alipur, Narela and Bawana were registered at 493, 486 and 472 respectively.

On Sunday, the national capital's average AQI stood at 494, the highest since November 6, 2016 when it was 497.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. Above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), Noida (452), Ghaziabad (474) and Greater Noida (454), Gurgaon (396), Faridabad (426) were breathing extremely polluted air.

6:06 AM, 04 Nov

How Many CPCB Solutions Was Followed by You: Javadekar Asks AAP

7:32 AM, 04 Nov

Odd-Even Rule Kicks in Delhi, CM Carpools with Other Ministers

The number of vehicles on roads came down significantly on Monday, 4 November, with only even number cars plying in the national capital on the first day of government's odd-even road rationing scheme, said the AAP government.

The anti-pollution measure kicked in from 8 am in Delhi and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged people to follow the scheme for the sake of their family and children.

Kejriwal carpooled with Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Kumar Jain and Labour Minister Gopal Rai to reach the Delhi Secretariat.

While Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia rode a bicycle to from his residence, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot travelled in his OSD's car to reach the secretariat.

"I have been on Delhi roads for almost two hours and I am happy that basic compliance is being done and most of the vehicles are even numbers. I thank all Delhiites for their cooperation," Gahlot said.

8:41 AM, 04 Nov

Delhi Is Choking Every Year, Centre & States Must Act: SC

Supreme Court came down heavily on both the Centre and the state governments for inaction over pollution crisis.

"State machinery not acting, Centre and Delhi must act, don't blame each other," the SC said.

“Delhi is choking every year and we are not able to do anything. Every year this is happening and this continues for 10-15 days, this is not done in civilized countries. Right to life is most important.”
Supreme Court Bench
9:26 AM, 04 Nov

BJP MP Vijay Goel Violates Odd-Even, Fined Rs 4,000

Senior BJP leader Vijay Goel on Monday, 4 November, violated the odd-even rationing scheme by driving an SUV with an odd last digit in its registration number and termed the initiative "an election stunt" by the Kejriwal government.

He termed it a "symbolic protest" against the scheme.

BJP vice president Shyam Jaju and other party leaders also accompanied Goel in the SUV which he drove from his residence on Ashoka Road, before being stopped near Janpath by traffic police personnel who challaned him.

10:06 AM, 04 Nov

Does Odd-Even Formula Really Help?: SC Asks Kejriwal Govt

The Supreme Court, on Monday, questioned Delhi government’s Odd-Even scheme, asking how the reduction of cars will help in lessening pollution levels if people use cabs and auto-rickshaws instead.

Justice Arun Mishra said, “Cars create less pollution. What are you (Delhi) getting from this Odd-Even?”

SC called the scheme “a gross violation of fundamental right to life,” ANI reported. “Various state governments and civic bodies have failed to discharge their duties,” it said.

It has ordered the Delhi Government to produce data and records by Friday, 8 November, to prove that the scheme has reduced pollution in the city, even as autos/taxis continue to ply on the roads.

Further, the apex court has directed that the people who are found violating the ban on construction and demolition in Delhi-NCR region will be fined with Rs 1 lakh and with Rs 5000 for burning garbage. The Court also directed municipal bodies to prevent open dumping of garbage.

10:29 AM, 04 Nov

SC Summons Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana on Pollution Issue

The Supreme Court has summoned chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to appear before it over the stubble burning and pollution crisis.

It has also directed the Centre and Delhi Government to seek expert help and take steps to combat the pollution.

It has also ordered that no power cuts should take place in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh to ensure that no diesel generators are used. A high powered committee of states will meet on Monday and the report will be submitted on 6 November.

11:01 AM, 04 Nov

SC to Hear Delhi's Air Pollution Matter on 6 November

The Supreme Court will hear Delhi’s air pollution matter on Wednesday, 6 November.

11:48 AM, 04 Nov

‘100 Percent Compliance’: Sisodia on First Day of Odd-Even Scheme

Deputy chief minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia, while addressing the media, said that there was “100 percent compliance” by the people of Delhi on the first day of the Odd-Even scheme.

He claimed that the number of violators are small number as compared to the number of cars that ply on Delhi roads. As many as 259 violators were fined on the first day of the scheme, PTI reported.

1:01 PM, 04 Nov

NGT Summons Delhi, Central Govt Officials on Pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday, 4 November, took cognisance of the deteriorating air quality in Delhi-NCR and asked officials from the Delhi government, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to appear before it on Tuesday.

The bench of NGT chairperson Justice AK Goel, after an in-chamber proceeding, summoned the Delhi chief secretary, DPCC chairman, member secretary of CPCB and the concerned secretary of MoEF at 10:30 am on Tuesday.

2:06 PM, 04 Nov

‘Why Should We Pay to Stop Stubble Burning?’: AAP Responds to Javadekar

The AAP on Monday, 4 November, said that it is Punjab’s and Haryana's responsibility to help their farmers in acquiring technology to avoid burning stubble, hours after Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar jibed the Delhi government that it was more interested in promoting itself than improving the air quality.

Javadekar had said that the Delhi government should give Rs 1,500 crore, which he added the AAP government spent on advertisements, to farmers in a bid to address the issue of air pollution.

The environment minister's remark was against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's recent comment that 40,000 machines provided by the Centre to curb stubble burning cannot help 22 lakh farmers.

On Monday, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh said it is the responsibility of the respective state governments to help their farmers and provide technology to discourage them from burning crop residue.

"I challenge the environment minister to prove that we have taken a single penny out of Delhi's budget, for advertisement," he said, PTI reported.

"Why should we pay? According to NGT and Supreme Court guidelines, it is the responsibility of the state governments of Punjab and Haryana to help their farmers and provide technology by which they can stop burning stubble," he said.

Singh also hit out at Javadekar, claiming that in the last one month, the environment minister cancelled three meetings with state governments to find solutions for air pollution in the national capital region.

"How uninterested the BJP government is with the issue of pollution. I want to ask and request the Central government to go above partisan politics and work for the betterment of India by taking steps to combat air pollution," he said.

2:11 PM, 04 Nov

Stubble Burning: Centre Should Give Financial Assistance to Farmers, Says Punjab CM

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday reiterated that the Centre should give financial assistance to farmers to wean them away from the practice of stubble burning.

He also lashed out at the Centre for its alleged apathetic attitude towards the problem of paddy residue burning.

"The ball is in the Centre's court and it should take concrete decisions to resolve the problem," Singh said when asked to comment on the issue of finding a lasting solution to paddy straw burning, PTI reported.

2:13 PM, 04 Nov

'Set up Special Cells to Monitor Air Pollution': Delhi Chief Secy to Civic Bodies

Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev directed municipal corporations on Monday to set up special cells for real-time monitoring of air quality and asked agencies concerned to address traffic-related air pollution at 28 major intersections across the city.

At an emergency meeting, Dev said a massive drive should be carried out to impound polluting vehicles and that those responsible for burning of waste be arrested.

He said deputy commissioners of municipal corporations will monitor the situation at pollution hot spots in their areas on an hourly basis.

"Similarly, commissioners of MCDs will monitor the situation on an hourly basis through a cell to be constituted by him/her in each MCD. The existing cells should be upgraded to facilitate hourly monitoring," the chief secretary said, PTI reported.

2:36 PM, 04 Nov

Stop Blaming Farmers for Pollution; Need to Set up Rice Bio-Parks: Swaminathan

Eminent farm scientist MS Swaminathan on Monday, 4 November, said blaming farmers for air pollution in the national capital will take nowhere, rather Delhi and neighbouring state governments should set up rice bio-parks to help farmers switch to cleaner methods to get rid of stubble, PTI reported.

In south India, stubble is not burnt as there is economic value as animal feed, he said sharing that he had been pointing out for years many economic usage of rice straw.

3:03 PM, 04 Nov

PMO Asks Punjab, Haryana About Action Against Stubble Burning

The Prime Minister's Office on Monday asked Haryana and Punjab to provide details of additional measures taken by them to check fresh cases of fire and stubble burning during the last 24 hours.

PK Mishra, principal secretary to the prime Minister, sought these details when he reviewed the measures taken by Punjab, Haryana and Delhi to tackle air pollution.

He had held a similar meeting on Sunday.

The Punjab Chief Secretary said that he is personally monitoring the situation with deputy commissioners of various districts where hotspots have been identified.

He said FIRs are also being registered for violation of The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the state government is taking strict action by enforcing necessary fines for incidents of violation of the Act, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.

3:22 PM, 04 Nov

Govt to SC: Crop Burning in Punjab up 7%, Down by 17% in Haryana

With pollution from stubble burning in neighbouring states "chocking" Delhi year after year, the Supreme Court was on Monday, informed that it has gone up by 7 percent in Punjab and decreased by around 17 percent in Haryana, PTI reported.

The apex court was informed by the Centre that stubble burning contributed about 46 per cent to the pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) followed by waste and garbage burning, construction and demolition.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta was informed by Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, that instances of stubble burning were high in four districts of Punjab -- Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Firozpur and Patiala.

Senior advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the top court as an amicus curiae in the pollution matter, told the bench that though the Centre has said in its affidavit that they have provided machines to farmers so as to curb instances of stubble burning, still it has gone up by seven percent in Punjab.

"We have to call every concerned officials and settle this," the bench said, PTI reported.

To this, the amicus said, "The court should call the chief secretaries of these states. This cannot go on. The Supreme Court has passed every possible order in this regard".

During the hearing, the bench said though Punjab is the "rice bowl" of the country, it cannot allow stubble burning there as it violates the right to life of citizens by putting their lives at risk.

The amicus said the Centre has stated that it has given machines to the farmers at subsidised rates to prevent stubble burning.

"As per the affidavit of Union of India, stubble burning has gone up in Punjab and gone down in Haryana. As per the affidavit, the active fire in Punjab has increased by seven per cent. It says in Haryana, it has decreased by 17 per cent. How this is possible?," the amicus said.

Regarding stubble burning in western Uttar Pradesh, the Centre said they have not got the requisite information yet.

3:43 PM, 04 Nov

Air Purifiers, Masks, Outdoor Events on Hold: Embassies in Delhi Take Anti-Pollution Steps

Concerned over the rising pollution level in the national capital, many foreign missions in New Delhi, have taken several measures, including installation of air purifiers at embassy premises and provision of protective masks, to mitigate its impact on the health of their diplomats and staffers, officials said, PTI reported.

While the Embassy of Switzerland is on its own "monitoring the air quality" inside and outside the embassy building within its premises, the Afghan Embassy has "put on hold all outdoor events and activities".

"The US Mission in India is very concerned by air pollution levels in New Delhi, which affect the health of our staff and their families as well as our ability to recruit personnel to serve in India,” a US Embassy spokesperson said, when contacted.

“We are doing everything we can to mitigate the effects of air pollution on our staff and community, including taking steps to ensure the cleanest possible air at our offices and residences as well as official vehicles,” the spokesperson told PTI.

4:23 PM, 04 Nov

Delhi-NCR’s Dirty Fuel-Driven Companies Shut Till 8 Nov: EPCA

The Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) on Monday said that dirty fuel-based industries in Delhi and its suburbs will remain shut till the morning of 8 November, PTI reported.

EPCA also extended the ban on hot-mix plants and stone-crushers in Delhi-NCR till 8 November.

The decision came close on the heels of the Supreme Court banning construction and demolition activities in the region till further orders.

4:56 PM, 04 Nov

‘States Should Refrain From Blame Game on Pollution’: Khattar

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday, 4 November, said that various states should refrain from playing blame game on the issue of air pollution in the NCR region and beyond, saying this problem is not limited to any particular state.

"The states should refrain from playing the blame game on the issue of air pollution as the problem is not confined to a particular state," he said, PTI reported.

Khattar said that the affected states should make joint efforts to address the problem.

He said apart from the burning of crop residue, several other factors like construction activities, vehicular traffic and burning of waste also significantly contribute in increasing the air pollution.

He said he would urge his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal to keep a check on such activities in Delhi.

6:57 PM, 04 Nov

SC Bans Construction, Burning of Waste, Questions the Logic of Odd-Even Scheme

Calling the severe air pollution in Delhi-NCR as "atrocious", the Supreme Court banned all construction and demolition activities in the region, along with burning of garbage and waste, on Monday, reported PTI.

The apex court, which observed that people could not be "left to die" due to the "worse-than-emergency situation", said those carrying out construction and demolition activities, despite its order, would be fined Rs one lakh.

It added that a penalty of Rs 5,000 would be imposed if anyone was found burning garbage and waste in the region.

The SC bench also questioned the logic of the odd-even vehicle rationing system that started in the capital today and told the city government to come back with the data to make a case for it at the next hearing on Wednesday.

3:14 AM, 05 Nov

AQI in 'Very Poor' Category in Both Gurugram & Noida

Air Quality Index (AQI) is ‘very poor’ in both Gurugram and Noida on Tuesday, 5 November.

3:25 AM, 05 Nov

'Induce Artificial Rain & Combat Pollution,' BJP MLA Writes to PM

BJP MLA from Ghaziabad Nand Kishor Gurjar wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting to sprinkle water with the assistance of the Indian Air Force and induce artificial rain, in the Delhi NCR, to reduce air pollution.

‘Odd-Even Scheme May Not Be the Solution to Air Pollution’: SC
(Photo: ANI)
6:02 AM, 05 Nov

Delhi Pollution Levels Likely to Drop Today, AQI at ‘Very Poor’

Pollution levels in the national capital are expected to drop on Tuesday, 5 November, due to an increase in wind speed even as air quality remained in the 'very poor' category.

According to the Meteorological (MeT) department, there is a possibility of strong winds in the next 24 hours.

At 9.44 am, Delhi's air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 365. The AQI at Vivek Vihar, Anand Vihar and ITO were registered at 410, 395 and 382 respectively.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered 'good', 51-100 'satisfactory', 101-200 'moderate', 201-300 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'. An AQI above 500 falls in the 'severe plus' category.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), AQI in Noida was registered at 388, followed by Ghaziabad (378), Faridabad (363) and Gurgaon (361).

8:29 AM, 05 Nov

PM Modi Chairs Meeting to Review Pollution Situation in North India

1:53 PM, 05 Nov

Authorities Look for Solutions to Stubble Burning Problem; PM Reviews Situation

As the air quality in Delhi-NCR hovered between ‘severe’ and ‘very poor’ category, a top Agriculture ministry official on Tuesday, 5 November mooted crop diversification and shift to a short duration paddy crop to reduce stubble burning in northern states that has been primarily blamed for pollution during winter months.

The pollution situation in northern India was also reviewed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after the Supreme Court ordered an immediate and complete stop to stubble burning in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh blamed for 46 per cent of the pollution in Delhi-National Capital Region(NCR).

3:18 PM, 05 Nov

Over 99k Challaned For Pollution Violation, Rs 14 Cr Fines Levied

Environmental compensation of around Rs 14 crore has been imposed on pollution instigators and 99,202 challans have been issued in Delhi for violation of anti-air pollution laws, according to official data, PTI reported.

Three-hundred teams constituted by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC), Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd, Public Works Department, district magistrates and municipal corporations to identify violations, such as dumping of construction and demolition waste, dumping and burning of garbage and construction activities, have conducted 19,100 inspections.

"An environmental compensation of Rs 13.99 crore has been imposed by various agencies. Under a special drive, 29,044 metric tonnes of construction and demolition waste has been lifted by municipal corporations and the Public Works Department since 16 October," a government statement said.

3:32 PM, 05 Nov

Crop Burning Continues in Punjab, Haryana: PMO

According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), union cabinet secretary on Tuesday, 5 November, reviewed the progress made in arrangements to control air pollution in the national capital region. It was observed that cases of crop stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana still continue and there is a need for more focused action, ANI reported.

PMO further said that these states have been directed that more monitoring teams should be deployed on the field to ensure that violators are taken to task by imposing suitable penalties.

2:13 AM, 06 Nov

Delhi's Air Quality Improves Further, Schools Reopen Today

Delhi's air quality improved further on Tuesday, 5 November, giving respite to people suffering due to acute pollution for a week, and the trend is likely to continue for a couple of days. Schools reopened in Delhi NCR on Wednesday, 6 November, after being shut due to pollution.

However, a senior Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) official said the apex anti-pollution body has been keeping a close watch on the farm fires in Punjab which peaked to the season's high of 6,668 on Tuesday.

10:45 AM, 06 Nov

SC Slams State Governments Over Air Pollution

Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra heard the air pollution case in the presence of Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana while coming down heavily on the state governments over the isue.

“Nobody will be spared if found violating rules and regulations,” said Justice Arun Mishra.

Justice Mishra observed that everyone knew that this (stubble burning) would happen this year also. “Why was the govt not ready in advance and why were the machines not provided? It seems no steps were taken throughout the year,” he said.

The bench also slammed the Punjab Government for not tackling the stubble burning issue. “You have miserably failed in your duty,” the bench said.

“Don't you feel ashamed that flights are being diverted and citizens are not safe even in their homes,” said the Bench, stressing that it’s a question of crores of lives and the government must be held responsible.

1:02 PM, 06 Nov

SC Directs 3 States to Financially Help Small, Marginal Farmers

The Supreme Court directed the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide support of Rs 100/quintal within 7 days to small and marginal farmers who have not burned the stubble.

Observing that "agriculture is the backbone of the country's economy and it's bounden duty of the state to look after the interest of farmers", a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said it is absolutely necessary that the farmers are provided necessary machines to prevent stubble burning.

The bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, directed the Centre and state governments of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to prepare a comprehensive scheme within 3 months to take care of environmental issues.

6:55 AM, 07 Nov

Air Quality in Delhi-NCR in 'Poor' Category on 7 November

Delhi's air quality improved from the ‘very poor’ category to the ‘poor’ category on Thursday morning, with the AQI recording 214, reported PTI. The marginal improvement will give some respite to people grappling with health problems caused by the pollution.

The AQI in Gurgaon was recorded at 168, 247 in Noida and 294 in Ghaziabad.

The Meteorological Department forecast a generally cloudy sky with the possibility of very light rain, and thundershowers during the day on Thursday.

7:09 AM, 07 Nov

PIL Filed in SC Challenging Odd-Even Scheme

A PIL was filed in the Supreme Court on Thursday, 7 November, challenging the Delhi government’s odd-even scheme, ANI reported.

The PIL termed the rationing scheme "an illegal classification of vehicles" and said it "impedes persons' fundamental right to carry on with a chosen profession."

9:09 AM, 07 Nov

BJP Leaders Ride Bicycle to Delhi Dy CM's House to Offer Him Stubble Bunch

‘Odd-Even Scheme May Not Be the Solution to Air Pollution’: SC
(Photo: ANI)

BJP leader Vijay Goel with other leaders rode bicycle to Delhi Deputy Chief Minsiter and Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia’s residence to offer him a stubble bunch on Thursday, 7 November, ANI reported. Goel has alleged that AAP's Punjab MLAs are behind the stubble burning in their constituencies.

11:27 AM, 07 Nov

SC to Hear Plea Against Odd-Even Rationing Tomorrow

The Supreme Court will on Friday, 8 November, hear a plea against the Delhi government's odd-even road rationing scheme, alleging that it is arbitrary, contrary to statutory provisions and is nothing but a "political and vote bank gimmick".

The petition, filed by a Noida-based advocate, has alleged that the Delhi government's November 1 notification on the scheme also violates fundamental rights.

"The odd-even vehicle scheme violates the fundamental rights of residents of Delhi and adjoining states who daily commute in/out of Delhi in their four wheeled vehicles to do their jobs/business to earn their livelihood and is ultra vires Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India," the plea said.

11:59 AM, 07 Nov

Delhi's Air Quality 'Very Poor' Again Due to High Humidity

After a brief relief, the national capital's air quality plunged to the "very poor" category again on Thursday due to high humidity because of light rains, officials said.

Weather experts said high humidity and light winds affect dispersion of pollutants and lead to the formation of more potent secondary particles.

Delhi's overall air quality index read 309 at 4.45 pm. It was 217 at 9 pm on Wednesday.

The air quality also took a hit in neighbouring Noida (328), Ghaziabad (325), Greater Noida (318), and Faridabad (312).

7:32 AM, 08 Nov

Delhi's Air 'Very Poor' on Friday Morning

The air quality in Delhi kept under 'very poor' category on Friday morning because of high humidity, officials said.

The city received 8 mm rainfall till 8.30 am in past 24 hours and relative humidity was 94 percent, a MeT department official said.

The air quality index (AQI) of Delhi was 350 at 9 am, according to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

An AQI between 201 and 300 is 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe' while the AQI above 500 falls in the severe plus category.

6:45 AM, 10 Nov

Delhi's Air Quality Remains Poor

Pollution levels in the national capital remained in the "poor" category on Sunday, 10 November.

At 9 am, Delhi's the air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 281, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The AQI in adjoining areas of Noida, Greater Noida, Faridabad and Gurgaon was registered at 302, 297, 251 and 253 respectively.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is 'poor', 301-400 'very poor' and 401-500 'severe'.

The city recorded a decline in the pollution levels on Saturday with the air quality moving from the "very poor" to "poor" category owing to favourable wind speed.

10:48 AM, 11 Nov

Delhi Air Quality in 'Very Poor' Category

Delhi's air quality remained in the 'very poor' category on Monday morning.

At 10.37 am, the air quality index (AQI) was 331. The AQI at Rohini, Bawana and Anand Vihar was 380, 375 and 373 respectively.

Government air quality monitoring service SAFAR said the city's air quality was expected to turn 'severe' by Tuesday. The average AQI stood at 321 on Sunday.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), the AQI in Noida was 358, while Ghaziabad recorded an AQI of 364. Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad recorded AQI of 346, 304 and 306 respectively.

With the winter setting in, a dip in the minimum temperature makes the air cold and heavy leading to accumulation of pollutants close to the ground.

5:39 AM, 12 Nov

Delhi's Air Quality in 'Hazardous' Category

Delhi's air quality worsened again and slipped into the ‘severe’ category on Tuesday morning.

At 9:36 am, the air quality index (AQI) was 414. The AQI at Bawana, Wazirpur, Anand Vihar and Rohini was 445, 442, 442 and 440 respectively.

According to the government air quality monitoring service SAFAR, the city's air quality was in very poor category on Monday which turned to severe by the evening. The average AQI stood at 360 on Sunday.

In the National Capital Region (NCR), the AQI in Noida was 436, while Ghaziabad recorded an AQI of 445. Greater Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad recorded AQI of 436, 365 and 404 respectively.

3:27 PM, 12 Nov

Already 'Severe', Delhi's Pollution Likely to Enter 'Emergency' Zone on Wednesday

The noxious haze returned to Delhi and its suburbs on Tuesday with raging stubble fires in neighbouring states, fall in the temperature and wind speed pushing the city's air quality in the "severe" zone.

The government's air quality monitor, SAFAR, said pollution levels in Delhi-NCR are expected to enter the "severe plus" or "emergency" category on Wednesday.

According to the Central Pollution Control Bureau (CPCB), Delhi's overall air quality index (AQI) read 425 at 4 pm on Tuesday. It was 360 at 4 pm on Monday.

3:34 AM, 13 Nov

Air Quality Severe in Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad

Air Quality Index AQI is at 472 (severe) in Noida’s Sector-62 area and at 441 (severe) in Faridabad’s Sector-16(A) area. In Greater Noida’s Knowledge Park-III area the AQI is at 458 (severe), according to the news agency ANI. Ghaziabad’s air quality is also in the ‘severe’ category.

3:43 AM, 13 Nov

Air Quality in Delhi Close to 'Emergency' Zone

The Air quality in Delhi was pushed closer towards the ‘emergency ’ category on Wednesday with an overall count of 476. Not much relief is expected for the next two days till Friday, according to news agency ANI.

6:44 AM, 13 Nov

SC Asks Centre to explore Hydrogen Based Fuel Technology, Submit a Report by 3 Dec

Supreme Court asked the Centre to explore Hydrogen based fuel technology to find a solution to reduce air pollution in North India and Delhi-NCR.

The Centre told the SC that it is exploring technology, including from Japan, to tackle air pollution. It is to submit a report on it by 3 December, according to ANI.

9:46 AM, 13 Nov

SC Asks for Data on Air Quality and Odd-Even Scheme

The Supreme court has asked the Delhi government to provide Air Quality Index (AQI) data from the date of introducing odd-even scheme till 14 November. It also asked Delhi government and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) to provide Air Quality Index (AQI) data from 1 October to 31 December of the last year.

(Source: ANI)

2:13 PM, 13 Nov

SC Panel Orders Closure of Delhi-NCR Schools Till 15 Nov

The Supreme Court-mandated anti-pollution authority EPCA on Wednesday, 13 November, ordered schools in Delhi-NCR to be closed for the next two days as pollution in the city hovered close to the 'emergency' level.

It also advised people to avoid outdoor exposure and work from home wherever feasible.

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority also extended the ban on hot-mix plants and stone-crushers in Delhi-NCR till 15 November.

4:34 PM, 13 Nov

Odd-Even Returns After 3-Day Break, 552 Violators Fined

A total of 552 challans were issued for violations of odd-even rules on Wednesday as the road rationing scheme returned after a three-day break for Sunday and Guru Nanak Dev's 550th birth anniversary, according to PTI.

4:42 PM, 13 Nov

Rs 2,500 Per Acre Compensation for Punjab Farmers Who Didn't Burn Crop Residue

The Punjab government on Wednesday announced Rs 2,500 per acre as compensation to small and marginal farmers who did not burn crop residue, PTI reported.

Farmers cultivating non-basmati paddy and owning land up to five acres will get Rs 2,500 per acre compensation for not burning stubble, said secretary, agriculture department, Kahan Singh Pannu.

To avail the compensation, farmers have to submit a self-declaration pro forma with the panchayat concerned by 30 November for claiming compensation, Pannu said.

6:15 AM, 14 Nov

Air Quality in Delhi Remains 'Severe', Relief Expected on Friday

The air quality in Delhi on Thursday, 14 November, slipped into the severe category with the AQI being recorded at 460, according to PTI.

The MeT department said strong winds are expected from Friday, which will bring down the air pollution levels to the very poor category.

10:49 AM, 14 Nov

Delhi HC Pulls Up Delhi Govt Over Air Pollution

The Delhi High Court on 14 November, while hearing a suo-moto petition on air pollution in Delhi, pulled up Delhi Government departments and other concerned authorities over the hazardous level of air pollution in the city.

The Delhi High Court said, "The problem lies in implementation and not lack of ideas. There is complete lack of will to implement the same and all the stakeholders including the citizens, have to take a proactive role in case we have to make Delhi pollution free".

12:18 PM, 14 Nov

Centre Not Taking Concrete Steps to Tackle Air Pollution Despite SC Direction: AAP

The AAP on Thursday hit out at the Centre for not taking "concrete steps" to tackle pollution despite a Supreme Court direction to expedite deliberations to find a permanent solution to the problem.

Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that the BJP is trying to "politicise" a sensitive issue like pollution and the Centre is not taking concrete steps to tackle the issue.

"The BJP, on the other hand, is trying to increase the pollution in the national capital. I think it is time that the Centre clarifies why no concrete steps are being taken despite the Supreme Court's direction," Singh told reporters.

He claimed that a meeting on pollution held by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was not attended by state environment ministers of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.

"I request these ministers to show some seriousness towards the sensitive issue. Just to portray AAP in bad light, you are putting people at risk not only in Delhi but also in Punjab and Haryana who are suffering due to pollution by stubble burning," he said.

7:26 AM, 15 Nov

Delhi's Air Quality Remains 'Severe' for 4th Consecutive Day

A thick layer of toxic smog engulfed Delhi as the pollution level continued to remain in the 'severe' category for the fourth consecutive day on Friday, 15 November, according to PTI.

The high pollution can be attributed to low wind speed, which has led to stagnation of pollutants in the air and slowed down the dispersion process, authorities said.

The air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was in the severe category at 467 at 10 am. All the monitoring stations recorded severe air quality, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

Levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 were nearly eight times higher than normal at several locations. Schools remained closed on Friday as the thick smog enveloped Delhi and neighbouring cities, PTI reported.

7:48 AM, 15 Nov

Final Call on Odd-Even Extension to be Taken on Monday: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said a final call on extending the odd-even scheme would be taken on Monday, 18 November, PTI reported.

"We do not want people to undergo unnecessary inconvenience," Kejriwal said at a press conference.

"Air quality is predicted to improve over the next two-three days. A final call on extending the odd even scheme will be taken on Monday." he said.

The road-rationing scheme, rolled out on 4 November, ends on Friday.

7:48 AM, 15 Nov

Parliamentary Panel Meeting Over Pollution Cancelled

A meeting of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Urban Development over severe air pollution in Delhi was postponed as 3 commissioners of MCD, Vice-Chairman of DDA, Secretary, Joint Secretary of Environment did not attend the meeting, according to ANI.

8:26 AM, 15 Nov

SC Grants Centre 7 Days to Give Reply on Air Cleaning System in Delhi

The Supreme Court has given the Centre seven days to come back with a definite reply on air cleaning system for the city, reports News18.

8:53 AM, 15 Nov

After SC Shows Skepticism, Delhi Government Says Odd-Even Works

After the Supreme Court on Friday questioned the scheme’s effectiveness, the Delhi Government said that the odd-even scheme improves air quality by 5-15 percent and that the result will be better if no exemption is given under the scheme.

“Delhi is suffering badly, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is almost 600 even today. How do people breathe?,” the court said, according to ANI.

That stubble burning is the real culprit behind rising pollution levels, it said.

10:09 AM, 15 Nov

SC Asks DPCC to Randomly Check 3-Wheelers Running on Polluting Fuels

Supreme Court has asked Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) to randomly check 3 wheelers running on polluting fuels and file report.

Delhi Development Authority, Public Works Department and other civic bodies to co-operate with monitoring committee to ensure implementation of court orders, reported ANI.

Published: 01 Nov 2019, 09:02 AM IST