NEW DELHI: As the state administration is unable to resolve the issue of smog which is affecting common people in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked the Centre on Sunday to look into a proposal to go for artificial rain through cloud seeding.
The CM convened an emergency cabinet meeting and announced some tough measures. Meanwhile, thousands of people, including children, gathered at Jantar Mantar on Sunday to protest over the deteriorating air quality in the national capital, demanding the government to take effective initiatives to curb the rising air pollution.
The protest, organised by various citizen’s group of Delhi, was also joined by celebrities such as Nafisa Ali, among others. “To curb the pollution, Delhi Government’s odd-even initiative was a huge success. If possible, it should be implemented once again,” actress Nafisa Ali said.
Kejriwal announced that all the schools will remain closed till Wednesday. He also announced other “emergency” steps like a five-day ban on construction and demolition activities and temporary closure of a power plant, besides exploring possibility of engineering artificial rain over the city and bringing back the odd-even scheme.
Kejriwal also appealed to the people to stay indoors and, if possible, work from home considering the alarming levels of pollution.
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 on 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 (Monday). 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 said.
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 from 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 department on all such roads at least once a week.
“The government is not unprepared. No one thought crop burning will be of this scale and weather conditions are also inclement. Delhi was polluted, so the extra pollutants aggravated the situation,” the CM said.