Dr. P. K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister chairs High Level Task Force meeting on air pollution in Delhi-NCR

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Dr. P. K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired High Level Task Force meeting on air pollution in Delhi-NCR at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today. The meeting was held to review the preparedness of various stakeholders to deal with the issue of adverse air quality in Delhi-NCR as the winter season approaches.

During the meeting, Principal Secretary discussed in detail about various measures being undertaken to reduce the impact of different sources of air pollution including industrial pollution; vehicular pollution; dust from construction and demolition (C&D) activities; dust from roads and ROWs; burning of municipal solid waste (MSW), biomass & misc. waste; agricultural stubble burning; and dispersed sources. Greening and plantation initiatives to abate air pollution were also deliberated during the meeting.

Principal Secretary also discussed the implementation of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), its monitoring and measures to improve its enforcement at field level. He said that strict implementation of the actions listed in the GRAP by all concerned is critical to prevent worsening of air quality. 

Dr. M. M. Kutty, Chairman, CAQM inform that industries of NCR are being shifted to cleaner fuels and out of 240 industrial areas, as many as 211 have already been provided CNG connection. Similarly, out of 7759 fuel-based industries, as many as 7449 have shifted to PNG/approved fuels.

Chairman, CAQM also briefed that there has been increase in e-vehicles and presently 4,12,393 e-vehicles are registered in NCR. The number of e-buses and battery charging stations has also increased and now there are 4793 EV charging points in Delhi.

As regards, Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste management, CAQM informed that 5 C&D waste processing facilities with the capacity of 5150 tonnes per day (TPD) are operationalised and one more facility with 1000 TPD capacity is in pipeline in Delhi. In Haryana, C&D facility with 600 TPD capacity is operational and 700 TPD is in pipeline. In Uttar Pradesh, 1300 TPD is operational and 2 facilities is in pipeline. All the states were requested to augment C&D waste processing capacities.

In an effort to ensure reduction of the paddy stubble burning across Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Principal Secretary to the PM instructed close monitoring of the issue by the Chief Secretaries of the three states. He advised the in-situ management of paddy stubble through Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines, and use of bio-decomposers. He also advised Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) to improve the technology. Elaborating on ex-situ management of paddy stubble, he advised working on developing economic use of paddy straw. He stressed on developing adequate storage facilities for baled straw along with infrastructure for baling, briquetting and pelleting etc. for effective ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw. Further, strict adherence to the stipulated targets for co-firing of biomass, with focus on paddy straw, in the thermal power plants biomass was also discussed.

During the discussion, Principal Secretary emphasized on a multi-pronged approach comprising several measures, such as procurement of biomass pellets, adopting the benchmark price issued by the Ministry of Power, expanding gas infrastructure and supply in the entire NCR region by March 2024, and ensuring expeditious supply of biomass on demand.  Further, there should be intensified drives to replace overaged vehicles, vehicles which are visibly polluting because of overloading and other reasons, and stricter implementation of actions envisaged in the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) by all concerned.

The meeting was attended by all major stakeholders viz. Secretaries to the Govt. of India in the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Power, Petroleum, Road Transport & Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, besides the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas, Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and NCT of Delhi, Central Pollution Control Board and the respective State Pollution Control Boards / DPCC were present in the review meeting.




Source PIB