As India‘s chances of winning the cricket World Cup grow, concerns about higher pollution levels in Delhi have emerged due to the anticipated use of firecrackers by fans. The potential rise in pollution could extend the enforcement of GRAP IV restrictions in the capital. This matter was recently discussed during a review meeting attended by senior officials in the presence of the chief secretary, focusing on the implementation of GRAP IV measures, a TOI report stated.
According to a senior Delhi government official, “GRAP IV may need to be extended for a few more days due to the increasing instances of stubble burning, slow wind speed, and the possibility of a large number of firecrackers being burst if India wins the final on Sunday. This was indeed discussed during the review meeting.”
While the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas takes decisions on GRAP implementation based on AQI, the review conducted by government agencies also holds significance. To ensure proper implementation and monitoring of GRAP rules, a six-member special task force has been formed. The task force comprises the special commissioner of transport, DCP (HQ) traffic police, deputy commissioner, revenue (HQ), chief engineers of MCD and PWD. The team’s primary responsibility is to coordinate with departments daily, address their challenges, and provide the government with the GRAP implementation report.
Addressing the current pollution levels, Environment Minister Gopal Rai stated that environmental experts predict the AQI to remain in the very poor range for the next 2 to 3 days. Under GRAP rules, 16,689 BS-III petrol and BS-IV diesel vehicles have been fined, with penalties amounting to Rs 20,000 under the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The Transport Department has deployed 84 teams, and the Delhi Police has deployed 284 teams for this purpose. Since November 3, a total of 19,227 vehicles have been fined during vehicle pollution checks. Additionally, 6,046 trucks unrelated to essential goods and services have been turned back at Delhi’s borders, and 1,316 vehicles entering Delhi have been fined.
Minister Gopal Rai also revealed, “So far, 3,895 construction sites have been inspected on-site under GRAP. Challans have been issued to 921 construction sites, resulting in fines amounting to INR 1.85 crore. A total of 591 teams have been deployed to inspect construction sites and take action against violations. These teams have been instructed to conduct continuous inspections.”