The Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) chairman Bhure Lal and member Sunita Narain, in a report, slammed Delhi-NCR authorities for failing to implement Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the region. The report was submitted to the Supreme Court on Friday.
In it’s report, EPCA pointed out that as per GRAP recommendations in the event the air quality hits ‘very poor’ or ‘severe’ category, authorities must boost public transportation and hike parking fees. The same wasn’t enforced in Gurgaon, even as the air quality dropped to alarming levels.
“…. measures are recommended so that movement by private vehicles is reduced for pollution control. But effective implementation of this requires a greatly enhanced public transport system. Currently, in Delhi, there are fewer buses on the road than there were three years ago. The situation across NCR is also very unsatisfactory,” the report stated.
Also, the report pointed out that at a time when generator sets have been banned owing to high pollution levels, there is a huge power shortage (not in terms of generation, but supply) in the districts of NCR. Hence, shortage in power supply defeats the purpose of putting curbs on running diesel generator sets in the NCR.
However, the Gurgaon district administration maintained that the as per the directive issued by the EPCA, GRAP has been implemented in the city and the steps enforced are directed towards lowering the level of pollutants in the atmosphere.
“To intensify public transport, DMRC and Haryana roadways have been directed to increase the frequency of trips. We have stopped all construction activities and polluting industries have been asked to suspend production till further orders. All brick kilns, hot mix plants and stone crushers have also been shut down,” Vinay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner, Gurgaon, said.
As the entry of heavy commercial vehicles into the national capital has been banned by the Delhi government, Gurgaon traffic police has diverted trucks on the way to Delhi. Singh said sensing congestion on National Highway-48, the traffic police has deployed more personnel to ensure smooth passage of vehicles.
He also said that the use of coal or firewood has been banned in hotels and open eateries. RWAs and house owners have also asked to provide electric heaters to security staff during winters to prevent them from making bonfires to keep warm. Residents have also been advised to use the Swachhta app to report cases of burning of garbage. Special teams have been formed to enforce the rule.
The district administration has also asked the police to enforce a crackdown on polluting vehicles and ensure enforcement of Pollution Under Control (PUC) norms. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) have also been asked to enforce rules for dust control at construction sites and impose fines on violators.
“Our teams are keeping a close watch on all polluting units and are also tracking cases of open garbage burning in the city,” JB Sharma, regional officer, HSPCB, said.