In a bid to combat the deteriorating air quality in Delhi, the government is set to reintroduce the odd-even vehicle scheme. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a high-level emergency meeting with State Environment Minister Gopal Rai on Monday, where the crucial decision to implement the scheme for a week between November 13 and 20 was taken.
As part of this initiative, the ban imposed on BS-III petrol vehicles and BS-IV diesel vehicles will continue in GRAP-4, with exceptions made for LNG, CNG, and electric trucks used for essential commodities and essential services. However, all other trucks will be prohibited from entering Delhi during this period.
In GRAP-3, demolition work at flyovers, overbridges, and power transmission pipelines had been granted exemptions. However, these activities have now been banned as well to address the air quality crisis.
Discussing the current air quality situation, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said that, based on forecasts, wind speeds are expected to reach 12 km/hour on November 7 and 8. These improved wind speeds may facilitate the dispersion of accumulated pollution in Delhi, potentially alleviating the situation.
On Monday morning, the overall air quality in Delhi remained in the ‘severe’ category, as per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)-India. The SAFAR reported an overall average Air Quality Index (AQI) of 471 on Monday morning.
In addition to the reintroduction of the odd-even scheme, the Delhi government had previously announced a ‘work from home’ policy for 50% of government staff until further notice as part of a comprehensive strategy to address the air quality crisis.