Air pollution to be in focus at north zonal meet

Increasing air pollution in Delhi is to be the focus of the meeting of Northern Zonal Council (NCZ) on Saturday.

NEW DELHI: Increasing air pollution in Delhi is to be the focus of the meeting of Northern Zonal Council (NCZ) on Saturday. The meeting will consider the recommendations of a high level committee that was constituted by the city government on air pollution, including adoption of dust suppression methods at construction sites across Delhi and its neighbouring areas and transportation of all building materials and debris in closed trucks.

Generation of dust at construction sites has been cited as one of the major reasons of rising air pollution in NCR.

The committee has suggested that all states must follow the dust suppression measures. In Delhi, this will be enforced by Delhi Police and pollution control department.

Cracking down on this menace, National Green Tribunal (NGT) had recently ordered that dust from construction sites should be completely controlled and the vehicles used for transportation of building material must be properly cleaned before being permitted to ply on the roads.

Huge number of real estate projects and other infrastructure works are under progress in NCR.

Saturday’s meeting will be chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and will be attended by chief ministers, ministers and top officials from all the north Indian states. The Delhi government is likely to push the need of setting up of air pollution monitoring stations across the region and also fixing display boards at different locations indicating the level of air pollution as it is being done in the capital.
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TOI has learnt that the issue of delay in construction of two peripheral expressways around Delhi – Eastern Peripheral Expressway (EPE) and Western Peripheral Expressway (WPE) - would come up for discussion in the meeting. Road transport ministry and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will have to explain the delay in awarding contract for EPE.

The two expressways are planned to function as bypass for trucks and commercial vehicles that pass through Delhi.

Sources said that the feasibility of building U-turns and underpasses at the borders would also be discussed at the meeting. The high level committee of Delhi government has suggested this as the NGT has ordered that no more than 10-year-old diesel vehicles should be allowed to enter Delhi. “You have to have a facility to send them back, else huge number of old trucks halting on the border would choke all the National Highways joining Delhi,” a government source said.
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