New Delhi: Delhiites woke up to thick blanket of smog for the fifth consecutive day on Friday with air quality in several areas dipping to ‘severe-plus’ pollution levels even as the Delhi government kept up suspense on extending the odd-even car rationing scheme on its 12th and final day.
At 7 am, the air quality in several areas of the Delhi and NCR, including Pusa Road (777), Dwarka Sector 8 (930), Pragati Vihar (733), Anand Vihar (535), Noida Sector 125 (665), Noida Sector 62 (538), US Embassy in Chanakyapuri (660), Jahagirpuri (610), Narela (808), Bawana (865), Okhla (722), Satyawati College in Ashok Vihar (757), Sonia Vihar (565), Alipur (644), Sri Aurobindo Marg (733), Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business in Rohini (765) and Patparganj (571) crossed the ‘severe-plus’ category.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to address a press conference at noon today, a day after saying the odd-even scheme could be extended beyond November 15 “if the need arises”.
He also appealed to opposition parties, which have termed the scheme an "election stunt" of the AAP government, to shun their resistance to the scheme. "Pollution has increased drastically. All of Delhi is demanding odd-even. At such a time, the Opposition should support the people's wish," he said.
"If the need arises, we will extend it (odd-even scheme)," Kejriwal said in response to media queries on whether the initiative aimed at curbing vehicular pollution will be extended.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Standing Committee on urban development will meet on Friday to address the alarming levels of air pollution in the national capital. DDA vice chairperson, MCD officials, forest and environment secretory have been summoned for the meeting.
A PIL against the car-rationing scheme is already pending in court with the Supreme Court directing the Centre, Delhi government and Central Pollution Control Board to bring on record the pollution data for the national capital for the month of October till November 14. It had also sought pollution data from October to December of the last year. The matter is scheduled to be heard on Friday.
Kejriwal has blamed stubble burning in neighbouring states for repeated episodes of smog in Delhi and said it has hit Delhi's image worldwide. The chief minister said Delhi's neighbouring states, especially Haryana and Punjab, are burning crop residue disregarding strict directions from the Supreme Court.