Delhi Smog: Odd-even returns in Delhi, HC issues emergency directives

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Air pollution levels in the national capital continued to be ‘severe’ as dense smog engulfed the city, leading to delays in flight and train services. H ere's what is happening on ground today: 

Dense smog continued to engulf Delhi and the National Capital Region for the fourth day today, with visibility dropping by 600 metres in the span of three hours this morning.

The Delhi Government has asked the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to exempt industries catering to essential services from its ban order. NGT also rapped the government for announcing the Odd-Even scheme despite reports that it was ineffective. 

The NGT said, "Odd-Even formula can't be imposed like this. Nothing has been done from your (Delhi govt) end since the past one year." 

It added, "SC never asked for imposition of this scheme. SC and NGT have suggested 100 measures to curb pollution but you always opted for odd-even. Delhi government will have to justify the implementation of this scheme." 


Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gehlot tweeted, "To encourage use of public transport during Odd-Even, Delhi govt to allow free travel for commuters in all DTC and Cluster buses from 13-17 November".

The air quality in Delhi remained 'severe' for another day. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting on the implementation of the odd-even policy today. 

The Delhi government has brought back odd-even plan to check rising pollution level in the capital. It will be implemented from Nov 13 and will end on Nov 17, and like last time two-wheelers and women drivers will be exempt. 

NGT has banned construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR till November 14 

The NGT has also directed directs civic bodies to constitute teams to ensure there is no burning of waste in Delhi-NCR. The green panel has also asked authorities to implement EPCA's directions to improve ambient air quality. 

It has also directed sprinkling of water where PM 10 is found to be in excess of 600 micrograms per cubic metre. 
Earlier in the day, the NGT slammed Delhi government, blaming it for the current situation. "You've made a mess of Delhi. You have done what you had to, now we will decide what you have to do. Why didn’t you issue any direction for shutting down polluting industries and construction. You did it yesterday as we told you to do so. Go to the hospital see number of patients that are being admitted," it said. 

The NHRC has sent notices to Centre, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana govts on "life-threatening" pollution in Delhi-NCR 

Despite clampdown, stubble burning in Haryana continues adding to Delhi's worsening pollution levels. 

The smog delayed 41 trains in Delhi , rescheduled 9 and 10 were cancelled.


Calling it an "emergency situation", a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sanjeev Sachdeva asked the government to consider the option of "cloud seeding" to induce rainfall artificially, as an immediate step to bring down the dust and particulate matter in the atmosphere. 

It directed the Delhi government to seriously consider a ban on further construction in the city to the extent possible and implementing the 'odd-even' vehicle usage scheme as a short term measure. 

"What we are facing today has already been faced by London. They call it a pea soup fog. It is a killer. Stubble burning is the visible villain in it, but there are other elephants in the room," the bench said.

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