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Delhi pollution: Stage-3 of GRAP revoked in NCR as air quality improves

The NCR and Adjoining Areas Air Quality Management Committee has canceled all GRAP Phase III measures, including restrictions on construction, demolition and movement of certain vehicles. However, the ban on the use of diesel generator sets for non-emergency work remains in effect.

NEW DELHI: The Commission for Air Quality Management of NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) on Thursday with immediate effect canceled all GRAP Phase III measures, including restrictions on construction and demolition, movement of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel vehicles, operation of stone crushers and on mining activity.

GRAP

The restrictions were implemented on January 14 after Delhi's air quality index (AQI) deteriorated to 447, which is in the 'severe' category. This was the third time this winter season that GRAP Stage 3 measures were imposed due to an increase in pollution. It was applied for the first time from November 2 to 28 and again from December 22 to January 1.

The cancellation came after the air quality index dropped from the “severe” to “very poor” range.

Besides Delhi, restrictions on BS III petrol and BS IV diesel (four-wheel drive) LMVs have also been removed in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar. A large number of vehicles were affected by these measures.

Withdrawing the ban on construction and demolition (C&D) activities will come as a relief to workers who were unemployed. "Nevertheless, without a specific order from the authority, C&D project sites and industrial units, which have been issued specific closure orders for violations and non-compliance with various legal directives, rules, and guidelines, will not be allowed to resume operations," said the CAQM.

The ban on the use of diesel generator sets for non-emergency work under Phase II of the GRAP plan will remain in effect. “All actions in Phases 1 and 2 of the Global Action Plan will remain in place and will be implemented, intensified, monitored, and reviewed by all participating agencies in the National Capital Region to ensure that AQI levels do not drop to the ‘severe’ category in the coming days.” The committee said.

CAQM said the decision to cancel the third phase of GRAP was taken due to the disruptive nature of the restrictions affecting a large number of stakeholders and people and considering the improvement in average AQI in Delhi.

“Forecasts of the Indian Meteorological Department and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) also indicate that there will be no significant deterioration, and there is a possibility that the AQI index will improve and remain in the ‘very weak’ or ‘poor’ category in the coming days,” CAQM said.

The committee said it is monitoring the situation and will check the air quality periodically in the coming days.

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