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Air Quality Commission Eases Curbs On Industries In Delhi-NCR; Defers Decision On Lifting Construction Ban, School Re-Opening

Srishti Ojha
15 Dec 2021 4:39 PM GMT
Air Quality Commission Eases Curbs On Industries In Delhi-NCR; Defers Decision On Lifting Construction Ban, School Re-Opening
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The Commission for Air Quality Management has informed the Supreme Court that it has allowed the 24x7 uninterrupted operation of industrial processes related to milk, dairy processing, manufacture of drugs, life-saving medicines and medical equipment in Delhi-National Capital Region.The Supreme Court had last week directed the Commission to take a decision regarding the relaxation of...

The Commission for Air Quality Management has informed the Supreme Court that it has allowed the 24x7 uninterrupted operation of industrial processes related to milk, dairy processing, manufacture of drugs, life-saving medicines and medical equipment in Delhi-National Capital Region.

The Supreme Court had last week directed the Commission to take a decision regarding the relaxation of curbs imposed on construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR to control air pollution.

Now, the Commission has told the Court that it has allowed industrial operations in the following manner :

  • (i)Milk and Dairy processing Units in NCR have been permitted to schedule their uninterrupted operations on a 24x7 hour basis.
  • (ii)Industries and processes related to medicines, drugs and lifesaving medical equipment have also been permitted to schedule their uninterrupted operations on a 24x7 hour basis.
  • (iii) Industries related to paper and pulp processing, distilleries and captive thermal power plants shall be permitted to schedule their operations (without any restrictions on number of hours per day) only for 5 days per week i.e. from Monday to Friday and shall remain closed / inoperative on Saturdays and Sundays.
  • (iv) Industries related to paddy! rice processing shall also be permitted to schedule their operations (without any restrictions on number of hours per day) only for 5 days per week from Wednesday to Sunday and shall remain closed inoperative on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • (v) Industries related to textiles, garments and apparels including dyeing processes and other set of industries not falling in any of the categories from (i) to (iv) above shall also be permitted to schedule the operations without any restrictions on the number of hours per day only for 5 days per  week, i.e from Saturday to Wednesday and shall remain inoperative on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • (vi) Those Industries/ Units which were closed pursuant to Direction No .47 on account of non-switching to PNG, have vide Order dated 11.12.2021 been given relaxation to operate for a restricted period of 8 hours only from Monday to Friday and shall observe complete closure over the weekend.
  • (viii) In respect of such industries and organizations where the violations were not of very high degree and mainly limited to the use of DG Sets, reportedly for smaller durations as power back up or in unforeseen situations, based on undertaking and commitment by the units concerned, resumption of operations is being permitted by the Commission, with due instructions to the concerned State Pollution Control Board/ Committee for close supervision and effective enforcement. Orders for resumption of use of DG sets have been permitted in 44 residential/ commercial/industrial establishments till 14.12.2021 until further orders.

Decisions on lifting Construction Ban, School Re-opening deferred

The Commission has said that a decision on the lifting of the construction ban and the reopening of the schools will be taken on or before December 17 based on the impact of the above relaxations.

Restrictions of truck entry

The Commission has continued to exercise restraint on the entry of trucks to Delhi except for CNG / electric trucks and  those carrying essential commodities. The said restriction shall continue to be in force, till further review of the Air Quality Index.

Thermal Power plants

The Ministry for Power has informed the commission that "number of thermal power plants that can be shut down cannot be further increased, even shutting down of the six plants within 300 kms radius of Delhi would also not be feasible beyond December 15, 2021".

Taking note of this response of the Ministry of Power, the Commission decided :

"Based on a detailed review and technical deliberations with the Ministry of Power, with the power demand peaking up in wake of extreme winter conditions setting in, the power plants have been accordingly permitted to schedule operations, based on power demand and respective merit order despatches. It has however, been advised to endeavour to run the thermal power plants to bare minimum requirements".

Incognito Flying Squads

The Commission has stated that it has been having regular meetings and detailed deliberations with all the stakeholders to assess the multiple representations received from various sectors for consideration of the restrictions.

The same has been done so as to analyse where and how restrictions imposed could be relaxed in order to strike a balance between the interests of the industrial units and continued efforts to curb any rise in air pollution.

The Commission has informed the Court that 40 Inspection Teams/ Flying Squads are conducting incognito inspections and surprise checks in various sites across different sectors viz. industry, construction & demolition sites, DG Set operations in commercial/ residential complexes, open waste burning and miscellaneous sources across all the NCR districts of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and the NCT of Delhi.

The Commission filed the affidavit in the writ petition Aditya Dubey versus Union of India, in which a bench led by the Chief Justice of India has been passing a series of orders to address the worsening air quality of the national capital.

The writ petition filed through Advocate Nikhil Jain in 2020 sought emergency steps to control the air pollution problem in Delhi-NCR.



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