Ready to consider lockdown to control pollution: Delhi govt tells Supreme Court

The Delhi government told the Supreme Court on Monday that it is ready to take steps such as “complete lockdown to control local emissions” contributing to the national capital’s spell of heavily polluted air, The Indian Express reported.

On Saturday, expressing alarm over the severely polluted air in the city, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the Delhi government to inform it by Monday if emergency measures like lockdown for two days or stopping vehicles should be imposed to prevent further deterioration in the situation, according to The Indian Express.

The Delhi government told the Court that it was ready to impose a lockdown but added, “However, such a step would be meaningful if it is implemented across the NCR areas in the neighbouring states. Given Delhi’s Compact side, a lockdown would have a limited impact on the air quality regime. This issue would need to be addressed at the level of airshed involving NCR areas. In view of the above, we are ready to consider this step if the same is mandated for the entire NCR area by the Government of India or by the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas.”

Schools in the city have been shut for a week and construction and demolition activities have also been banned. On Sunday, Haryana also shut schools in four NCR districts, including Gurgaon and Faridabad.

With the Supreme Court suggesting a “lockdown”, Kejriwal had earlier said: “We are still working out what the value of a lockdown will be. We are not imposing a lockdown yet. We are preparing a proposal to determine this and will only place it Kejriwal: No lockdown for now, close schools, stop construction work before the Supreme Court as a proposal.”

Calling it an “extreme step”, he said: “We need to take the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), SAFAR, and Union government into confidence, and will discuss with all the agencies.”

“This is not the time to point fingers. Our aim is to reduce the pollution that has increased within the city and created an emergency situation, in order to provide relief to the people,” Kejriwal said. Strict measures are a compulsion and are necessary, he added.

 

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