Air pollution: Schools, colleges in NCR to remain closed, offices asked to allow 50% staff to work from home


PTI, Nov 17, 2021, 10:28 AM IST

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) late Tuesday night directed that schools, colleges and educational institutions in the National Capital Region will remain closed until further orders, allowing only online mode of education.

It also said that only five of the 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km radius of Delhi – NTPC, Jhajjar; Mahatma Gandhi TPS, CLP Jhajjar; Panipat TPS, HPGCL; Nabha Power Ltd. TPS, Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo TPS, Mansa – will remain operational till November 30.

The commission directed Delhi and the NCR states to stop construction and demolition activities in the region till November 21, barring “railway services/railway stations, metro rail corporation services, including stations, airports and inter-state bus terminals (ISBTS) and national security/defence-related activities/ projects of national importance” subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules and dust control norms.

Trucks carrying non-essential items have been banned from entering Delhi till Sunday in a bid to contain the spiralling air pollution levels.

The commission had held a meeting on Tuesday with senior officials of Delhi and NCR states of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in connection with the severe air pollution in the region ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on the matter.

“All public and private schools, colleges and educational institutions in NCR shall remain closed until further orders allowing only online mode of education,” the CAQM directions read.

NCR state governments have been directed to allow work from home (WFH) for at least 50 per cent of their staff in offices in NCR till Sunday and encourage private establishments to follow suit.

“All industries in NCR still using unapproved fuels shall be closed by respective governments with immediate effect… NCR States and GNCTD shall enforce a strict ban on use of DG sets, except for emergency services,” the panel said.

Authorities in NCR have been ordered to ensure that no diesel and petrol vehicles older than 10 years and 15 years, respectively, are found plying on road.

The Delhi government has been directed to expeditiously procure and put on road adequate number of CNG buses at the earliest.

Chief Secretaries of Delhi and NCR states have been directed to monitor the implementation of the directions on a regular basis and file a compliance report before the commission on Monday.

The Delhi government had ordered the closure of physical classes in schools, colleges and other educational institutions for a week from Monday.

All government offices, agencies and autonomous bodies, except those involved in essential services, have been asked to work from home.

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