Construction banned again in Delhi, says Environment Minister

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (IANS) The Delhi government on Monday banned all construction and demolition activities in the national capital till further orders to curb the rising level of air pollution.

It has also announced a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to the construction workers for the time being, Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said.

“Due to the rising level of air pollution, all the construction and demolition activities in Delhi have been banned until further orders and Delhi government has decided to provide a financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to the construction workers for that particular time frame,” Rai told media after holding a review meeting on Monday.

“Besides, entry of non-CNG and non-electric trucks from outside of Delhi has been prohibited till December 7 to reduce vehicular emission,” he said, adding, “The third phase of ‘Red Light On, Gaadi Off’ campaign will be extended till December 18.”

The minister further informed that schools, colleges and other education institutes in the capital have been opened from today. “Buses have been started from about 14 colonies in Delhi where the Delhi government employees reside,” he added.

On November 21, all schools in the national capital were shut until further orders of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the national capital region and adjoining areas, owing to the rising levels of air pollution.

Since Diwali, the AQI of the national capital continued to hover between the upper end of the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ category. The change in wind direction, stubble burning and bursting of firecrackers were cited to be the reasons behind the worsened air quality.

Air quality visibly improved in Delhi after strong surface winds swept through the city on Sunday with Monday’s AQI being recorded at 370 by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR).

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.