The Delhi Government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on a plea that sought measures to control the worsening air quality situation in Delhi. The affidavit filed by K. S. Jayachandran, Special Secretary (Environment), Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, lists steps takes to curb air pollution in Delhi in strict implementation and compliance of the directions dated 18.10.2021 , 28.10.2021 , 08.11.2021 and 13.11.2021 issued by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas .
It is further submitted in the affidavit that in pursuance of the directions of the Supreme Court in the present case on November 15, 2021, the CAQM convened an emergency meeting on November 16, 2021 and in furtherance of the same , issued directions on November 16, 2021 under section 12 of the Commission For Air Quality in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021 regarding steps for effective control of air pollution in wake of the prevailing poor air quality in Delhi – NCR, including encouraging work from home to further ease vehicular pollution as under :
1. Stop entry of trucks in Delhi except the trucks carrying essential commodities, till 21 November , 2021 subject to further review for extension of this date .
2. To stop construction and demolition activities in NCR till 21st November , 2021 except for the following categories of projects
(a) Railway services / Railway stations.
(b) Metro Rail corporation services , including stations
(c) Airports and Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBTs)
(d) National security / defense related activities projects of National importance subject to strict compliance of the C & D Waste Management Rules and dust control norms including compliance with the directions of the Commission .
3. NCR State Governments shall allow Work from Home (WFH) for at least 50% of their staff in offices in NCR, till November 21, 2021, subject to further review.
4. NCR State Governments shall encourage at least 50% of staff working in private establishments in NCR are also allowed to work from home till 21 November, 2021 subject to further review.
5. All public and private Schools, Colleges and Education Institutions in NCR shall remain closed until further orders allowing only online mode of education .
The affidavit states that stoppage of trucks’ entry in Delhi , and stoppage of construction and demolition activities is in force till November 21,2021 . The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) directed all stakeholder departments on November 17,2021 for taking intensive actions and steps for effective control of air pollution in wake of prevailing air quality scenario in Delhi regarding industrial pollution , vehicular pollution , dust control measures , DG Sets. Further ,all public and private schools, Colleges and Education Institutions in NCR have also been closed until further orders allowing only online mode of education.
The Government of Delhi had already implemented the policy of work from home for GNCTD employees and had advised the private sector on the same to allow their employees to work from home till November 17,2021 vide its earlier order dated November 13,2021. In view of the above directions dated 16-11-2021 of CAQM the Government of Delhi issued further directions on November 17,2021 to close offices of GNCT of Delhi / Autonomous Bodies / Corporations till November 21, 2021 except those involved in essential and emergency services , while requiring all the officers / officials to work from home . The private offices / establishments were also again advised to allow their staff to work from home till November 21,2021, the affidavit states.
It is pertinent to note that on November 13, a special bench led by the Chief Justice of India had expressed deep concerns at the situation, and had called for emergency steps. The Court had also suggested that lockdown could be imposed to prevent the situation from going out of control.
“As per the latest Order dated November 21,2021 issued by the Government of NCT of Delhi , the above directions regarding closing all offices of GNCT of Delhi Autonomous Bodies Corporations except those involved in essential and emergency services were extended and are now to remain in force till November 26,2021 for further curbs on vehicular pollution. Further, the ban on entry of trucks in Delhi except the trucks carrying essential commodities has also been extended till November 26, 2021,”
-the affidavit reads.