Delhi Choked: Govt announces emergency steps, schools closed for 3 days
- With Delhi choking with air pollution, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that schools will remain closed till Wednesday
- He has also announced a raft of "emergency" steps, including a five-day ban on construction and demolition activities
- The odd-even scheme might be back
Listing short-term steps to deal with the situation, the Chief Minister said use of all diesel gen-sets has been prohibited for the next five days beginning Monday, except for emergency services like hospitals and mobile towers. "Schools will be closed for the next three days. The health department will issue the first pollution advisory tomorrow. We also appeal to the people to stay indoors and work from home, if possible. We are also starting the preparation for odd-even (car rationing scheme). We will make an assessment in the next few days and implement it, if need be," Kejriwal told reporters.
The Delhi government also decided to shut down the coal-based Badarpur power plant, considered one of the key sources of pollution, for next 10 days beginning Monday. The plant generates around 300MW of power. It was also decided to go for water sprinkling on roads of 100-foot width from Monday. It will be done by the PWD on all such roads at least once a week.
The Chief Minister said the government was also mulling over the possibility of bringing back the odd-even scheme and going to discuss with the Centre the possibility of engineering artificial rain over the city that has turned into a "gas chamber", mainly due to large-scale crop burning in Haryana and Punjab.
A committee comprising the chief secretary and the environment secretary will take up with the central government the possibility of engineering artificial rain over Delhi so that the dust settles down, the chief minister said, adding the cabinet had received a proposal to go for artificial rain through cloud seeding.