Delhi AQI severe for second time in three days, Centre delays stricter curbs

NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Jan 26 (PTI) The Centre on Friday decided to delay implementation of stricter measures to curb pollution in Delhi-NCR despite the 24-hour average AQI in Delhi breaching the 400-mark for the second time in three days.

Delhi's 24-hour average Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 409 at 4 pm, a level requiring authorities to invoke stricter curbs under Stage III of the Centre's Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) to control air pollution.

The CAQM sub-committee for operationalisation of GRAP convened an emergency meeting and took stock of the air quality situation, projected AQI and meteorological forecasts, a statement said.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), a dip in temperature and foggy weather allowed accumulation of pollutants in Delhi on Friday.

Forecasts by the IMD and the IITM suggest an improvement in Delhi's air quality from Friday itself. It is expected to be in the 'very poor' category in the coming days, the statement said.

"Therefore, the committee decided to monitor the situation before considering invocation of stringent actions under Stage III of GRAP," it said.

The ongoing preventive or restrictive actions implemented under Stage I and Stage II of GRAP will continue.

Stage III curbs include a ban on non-essential construction work and the plying of BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel four-wheelers in Delhi-NCR.

Construction work related to national security or defence, projects of national importance, health care, railways, metro rail, airports, interstate bus terminals, highways, roads, flyovers, overbridges, power transmission, pipelines, sanitation and water supply are exempt from the ban.

GRAP, implemented in the region during the winter season, actions in four stages: Stage I - 'Poor' (AQI 201-300); Stage II - 'Very Poor' (AQI 301-400); Stage III - 'Severe' (AQI 401-450); and Stage IV - 'Severe Plus' (AQI above 450). PTI GVS SZM