Pollution menace: Crores spent but Indian cities are still gas chambers

Government cleared Rs 515 crore under clean air programme, Rs 4,400 crore was released on finance panel recommendation to tackle air pollution.

Published: 07th November 2021 07:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2021 07:51 AM   |  A+A-

Water being sprayed on the road even as a thick layer of smog engulfed Delhi for the seconed day after Diwali.

Water being sprayed on the road even as a thick layer of smog engulfed Delhi for the seconed day after Diwali. (Photo | EPS/Shekhar Yadav)

NEW DELHI:   While many parts of the country recorded alarming levels of air pollution, government data has disclosed that the Centre has spent substantial amounts to tackle the menace but all of it appears to have come to naught.

The Centre sanctioned nearly Rs 515 crore under the National Clean Air Programme for 2020-21 and 2021-22. Besides, Rs 4,400 crore was released during 2020-21 as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission to tackle air pollution in 42 cities and urban agglomerates.

An amount of Rs 290 crore was allocated under the NCAP and Rs 152.73 crore was released in 2020-21 for expansion of monitoring network, construction and demolition waste management facilities, non-motorised transport infrastructure, green buffers, mechanical street sweepers, composting units etc. For 2021-22 an allocation of Rs 225 crore was made.

The Centre launched the NCAP in January 2019 as a national level strategy for pan- India implementation to reduce air pollution levels across the country. The NCAP is a midterm, five-year action plan. Taking into account the available international experiences and national studies, the tentative national level target of 20- 30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is envisaged under the NCAP.

Under the NCAP, 124 non-attainment cities have been identified across the country based on the air quality data from 2014-18. Steering, monitoring and implementation committees have been constituted at the central and state levels for monitoring the implementation of the NCAP.

Besides, city level nodal officers have been nominated by the Central Pollution Control Board to monitor the ground implementation of the NCAP. Apart from these, there are many central schemes that also focus on tackling air pollution in cities. About Rs 7,365.82 crore was allocated for solid waste management under the Urban Swachh Bharat Mission during 2014-2019.

Besides, a provision of Rs 1,41,678 crore over a period of five years from 2021-2026 has been made for Urban Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0 with a focus on air pollution reduction by effectively managing waste from construction-and-demolition activities and bioremediation of all legacy dump sites.

Air pollution fight Plan Allocation

Rs 290 crore NCAP 2020-21

Rs 225 crore NCAP 2021-22

Rs 4,400 crore XV Finance Commission


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