Asked state govt to implement 'graded action plan': Harsh Vardhan

ANI | Updated: Nov 09, 2017 14:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov 9 (ANI): Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan said they have already been in touch with the respective state governments to implement a graded action plan to fight against the rising level of pollution in Delhi.

"We have reinforced our instructions and are constantly monitoring the situation at our level. We have asked the Delhi Government to sprinkle water on the roads and use mechanised dust removal from the roads," he added on Thursday.

However, he assured that things have become much better since yesterday.

"I am hopeful that things will be under control. There should be no reason to panic, take precautions try to stay indoors and don't expose children to polluted air," Vardhan said.

The Environment Minister said that states like Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan should also join hands in fighting pollution.

Minister of State Environment, Forest and Climate Change Mahesh Sharma said that pollution in Delhi is "a serious matter and it should not be politicised".

"It is the time for everyone to come together and fight this problem," Sharma told ANI.

He said that the Centre is continuously observing the situation in Delhi, adding that the Union government understands its responsibility well and is taking the required measures.

On the Delhi Government criticising the BJP led NDA government at the Centre for ignoring their suggestions and not helping the former in the issue, Sharma said, "All the suggestions that we are getting, we are forwarding it to the Delhi Government."

In view of the increasing air pollution, Delhi is gearing up for yet another round of odd-even rule, as Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Wednesday directed the Transport Department to start preparing for the same.

Baijal also directed Municipal Corporations, DDA and SDMs to strictly enforce prohibition on open burning.

In addition, in a bid to discourage use of private vehicles, Delhi Metro parking rates have been increased four times the prevalent rates.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sent a letter to chief ministers of neighbouring Punjab and Haryana states, urging them to work jointly to resolve the air pollution issue.

A thick layer of smog canopied the national capital earlier this morning leading to hazardous pollution levels.

The odd-even rule launched last year by the AAP government in Delhi required vehicles with odd and even numbers to run on alternate days, with the view to limit movement of vehicles, and consequently reduce air pollution.

The rule applied for 15 days.

The scheme was first implemented by the Delhi government in January 2016, and re-introduced in April of the same year. (ANI)