The Kejriwal Government in its resolve to combat the rise of pollution in the state, is working on a Winter Action Plan. The Winter Action Plan will act as a catalyst in the Delhi Government’s fight against pollution. Environment Minister Shri Gopal Rai presented the 10 focus points of the plan on Thursday. The Delhi Government will work on priority to tackle the pollution levels based on these points. Shri Gopal Rai said that the Delhi Government will come up with the ‘Winter Action Plan’ by 30th September and a review meeting will be held with all concerned departments on September 14. He said that Delhi Government will launch several campaigns to control pollution on the basis of Winter Action Plan.

The Environment Minister had chaired a High-Level Review Meeting with the officials of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Environment, Forest, and Development Departments. In the meeting the preparations for the Winter Action Plan were reviewed and an outline with areas of key focus was chalked out.

Environment Minister Shri Gopal Rai said, “The Kejriwal Government, with the support of the people of Delhi, is taking concrete steps to tackle the rising pollution levels. In this prospect, we have started preparations for the Winter Action Plan. A high level review meeting was held today with officials of the Environment Department, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, Development Department and Forest Department. The principal focus of this meeting was to lay an outline for the Winter Action Plan. We drafted an outline keeping in mind the areas that require the prime focus of the government.”  

*Winter Action Plan to be based upon 10 major points: Gopal Rai

Shri Gopal Rai said that 10 focus points have been outlined for the Winter Action Plan. These focus points will aim to : 1) stop stubble burning pollution, 2) stop vehicular pollution, 3) stop dust pollution, 4) stop waste burning, 5) identity hotspot, 6) study Smog Towers, 7) conduct dialogue with states, 8) Advance the War Room, 9) upgrade the Green App, 10) coordinate with the Centre & CAQM.

“The meeting concurred that there were 10 areas that needed the highest amount of focus for us to work on. Stubble Burning Pollution, Vehicular Pollution, Dust Pollution, Waste Burning contribute immensely to the rising pollution levels. These issues have been included as the first four points of focus for the plan,” Shri Gopal Rai said. 

“The areas in Delhi where the people are subjected to the highest levels of pollution are being identified as hotspots. The government will work upon these hotspots with special attention and thus they have been included as another area of key focus. The Kejriwal Government has established Smog Towers at certain hotspots as a pilot project. The study of the performance of these towers has been added as another point to the plan. We will study the performance of these towers and accordingly establish more towers wherever required,” he added.

The Environment Minister said that another area of concern would be holding discussions with other states and seeking their cooperation. “The problem of pollution is not limited to Delhi alone. Experts have ruled that this an airshed issue. However, administrators of our neighbouring states do not consider it to be a reason for pollution. The airshed of North India impacts pollution levels immensely. If there’s a bump in pollution levels in Ghaziabad, it will naturally impact Delhi as well. Similarly, if something happens in Haryana, Rajasthan or UP that too will impact Delhi. Thus a team will be put together which will hold discussions with the neighbouring states of Delhi and discuss solutions with them.”

“The integrated pollution control war room will be upgraded to much higher standards to help monitor and implement solutions more efficiently. We have been working on the Green App for over one year, and many suggestions have come up to us. Therefore, to enhance communication with the citizens and solve their grievances better, we will be updating the Green App,” he said. 

“We can have dialogue and communication with other states. But only the Central Government and the Commission For Air Quality Management can monitor and implement solutions. Through them, we aim to collaborate with the other states and take on pollution with full force. In this view, our final point in the plan will be to coordinate with the Centre and the CAQM.,” the Environment Minister further said.  

*Interdepartmental meeting to be held in Delhi to review the joint fight against pollution: Gopal Rai

“These are our 10 focus points upon which we will further develop our plans. Multiple agencies who have different roles work within Delhi to manage the pollution levels. Therefore, on 14 September, we will hold a review meeting with all the concerned departments about their progress over the past year; We will discuss with them the complaints logged through the Green App and their subsequent resolutions. All activities in the past year will be reviewed and they will then be taken forwards for future plans. We will hold a joint departmental meeting with all three MCDs, NDMC, DDA, PWD, Traffic Police, Transport Department, Delhi Jal Board, Irrigation and Flood department, DSIIDC, CPWD and NHAI. Senior officials from these departments will be present in the review meeting. They will also be asked for suggestions to the Winter Action Plan, on the basis of which we will finalise the plan by 30th september, 2021.”

(EW correspondent)