Delhi pollution
Delhi pollution: CM Arvbind Kejriwal bans all construction, use of diesel generators for 10 days. In picture: Pollution and smog in Delhi.IANS File Photo

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced a slew of measures — including the halting of all construction and use of diesel-powered generators — in light of growing pollution in New Delhi. He also said schools — 1,800 of which were already closed — would not open for another three days. 

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor's announcement came after he held discussions with Delhi Environment Minister Imran Hussain, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and MLA Kapil Mishra in an emergency meeting at 12:30 pm on Sunday, amid claims that the air of Delhi had not only become toxic but that it was also affecting the air quality of Lahore!

Addressing reporters in Delhi on Sunday, Kejriwal said: "Emergency measures are needed [to combat the air pollution and smog in Delhi.] Instead of politicising Delhi's pollution issue, we need to solve it together." The statement was a jab at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, with which Kejriwal has been at loggerheads.

The animosity was not exactly unfounded, given how the Centre has reacted to the problem. On Sunday itself, Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information & Broadcasting had said: "A plan of action [to tackle Delhi's pollution problem] needs to be formed  and implemented. This [situation] doesn't reflect well internationally as Delhi is the capital."

Several strict measures

Kejriwal on Sunday outlined several strict measures to bring the air quality of Delhi back to breathable and to help people tide over the crisis. The first of these was the complete ban on construction or demolition for the next five days. The second of these was to close the Badarpur Thermal Power Station for 10 days.

The third of these was the banning of diesel-powered generators for 10 days. There are exceptions to this ban, though, with hospitals and emergency facilities left out of its ambit. Kejriwal also said vacuum cleaning of the roads of Delhi would start by November 10, and the roads would be sprinkled with water from Monday itself. 

Kejriwal also said that the odd-even formula — cars with odd-numbered license plates plying on odd dates and even-numbered license plates plying on even dates — would make a comeback. He also said schools in Delhi would remain closed for another three days. Additionally, fires in landfills would be put out.