In view of the ‘severe’ level of air pollution in the national capital, the Delhi government on Wednesday declared an early winter break for schools from November 9 to November 18.
“All schools shall observe winter break from November 9 to November 18, 2023 said an order from the Education Department of the Delhi government
The decision is in response to the implementation of GRAP-IV (Graded Response Action Plan IV) in Delhi due to the high pollution levels, with no expected improvement in the near future, as indicated by the IMD (Indian Meteorological Department).
“In the wake of the implementation of GRAP-IV measures due to the severe plus air quality prevailing in Delhi and seeing that no respite from such adverse weather conditions in the near future is predicted by the IMD, the winter break for the season 2023-2024 is ordered to preponed so that schools can be totally closed and both children and teachers can stay at home,” it said.
School authorities have been instructed to promptly communicate this information to parents.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, Delhi’s Environment Minister, Gopal Rai, presided over a meeting involving all relevant government departments. The purpose of this gathering was to ensure adherence to the directives issued by the Supreme Court regarding pollution, which were given the previous day. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot and Revenue Minister Atishi were also present at the meeting.
“I want to thank the SC for giving the instruction to restart the smog tower, which was shut down by the DPCC Chairman. I want to thank the SC for giving instructions for the real-time study data to be published,” Rai said.
“I have been continuously appealing to the Centre that there should be a joint work. In Delhi, we are continuously implementing the rules of GRAP. But the way our neighbouring governments are sitting silently, I think that after the order of the Supreme Court, meetings will now be held and rules will be implemented… I have been continuously demanding that firecrackers be banned in the states around us. BJP wants to control pollution only by making statements. I think the Supreme Court order regarding the ban on firecrackers will have an impact,” he added.
Gopal Rai further said that the Delhi government will give complete information regarding the odd-even vehicle plan to the Supreme Court on Friday, after which a decision will be taken on whether odd-even will be implemented from November 13 or not.
Delhi Education Minister Atishi on Sunday announced the closure of primary classes of all schools until November 10 and said schools have the option of teaching online for classes 6 to 12.
“The Supreme Court has given its observations of what needs to be implemented in Delhi and we have called for a meeting with the concerned ministers and officers so that we can implement whatever instructions Delhi has got. The SC has given the order to end stubble burning in whichever state it has been happening,” Rai said.
Wednesday morning saw the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi once again hitting the “severe” category, following several hours of “very poor” air quality the previous day. Delhi had consistently experienced “very poor” air quality until November 3 when it worsened to the “severe” category (AQI above 400) for the first time this season.
(Inputs from ANI)