The minister had recently asked National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to “take stringent steps” to reduce the pollution menace in the city
Taking a dig at the Arvind Kejriwal led- Delhi government, union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, today said that Delhi has a “complex” problem of pollution, which can’t be solved with schemes like “odd-even”.
Speaking to the media in New Delhi, the minister said that Delhi is battling with multiple issues that cause pollution in the capital.
“Delhi has complex issue of pollution… There is vehicular pollution, smog, climate changes.. Odd-Even is not eneough,” he said.
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“We have directed all the contractors through NHAI to avoid undertaking activities causing pollution… We have asked them to cover all the construction material and take necessary steps,” he said.
The capital has been choking with smog for over a week now with pollution level rising to “hazardous” levels on Sunday. The hourly graph of the Central Control Room for Air Quality Management, which had briefly fallen below emergency levels on Saturday, recorded PM2.5 and PM10 concentration at 478 and 713 micrograms per cubic metre on Sunday afternoon.
The corresponding 24-hour safe standards were 60 and 100. Visibility came down below 100 metres at many places.
The Centre and the state government have been toiling with many ideas including considering implementation of ‘Odd-Even’ or car rationing scheme, ban on construction work etc
Delhi government “called off” its flagship car rationing scheme on Sunday after National Green Tribunal (NGT) lifted exemptions given to two-wheelers and women drivers. The scheme was to be implemented between 13th and 17th November.
The car rationing scheme is based on the last digit of passengers cars. It lets one drive his/her car on even (odd) dates when its car number ends with even (odd) digit.
Gadkari was speaking to the media after inspecting progress on Delhi-Meerut Expressway which is envisioned to relieve the capital of its traffic woes. He said that governments need to take collective steps as schemes like ‘odd-even’ can’t work alone.
“Delhi-Meerut Expressway is our gift to Delhi… I hope that, with this, the pollution caused by automobiles would be reduced in Delhi,” he said.
The minister said that a third ring road of approximately Rs 40,000 crore would be constructed to solve traffic congestion in the capital, the cost of which would be borne by Centre and state.
“Delhi is our capital…People from world-over come to the city… Traffic jams and pollution give a wrong impression…,” he said.
The transport minister said that a “cycle track” of 2.5 meter was being constructed along the Delhi-Meerut Expressway to reduce traffic and promote pollution-free mobility.
He further said that “being a transport minister” he would urge people to adopt alternative fuel, including ethanol, methanol and electric, on urgent basis to solve the issue of pollution.
“I will soon start a trial run of electric buses in Delhi… It will have two variant, one with Lithium-ion battery and other will be capacity charger…,” he said adding, “We will put up direct charging system at various locations to promote electric transportation… I will urge Delhi government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi to come forward and take this up with Centre”.
Listing other steps, he said that he would purchase rice straw from states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab and convert it into biofuel to reduce the pollution caused by crop burning. Furthermore, he said that Centre might consider cleaning National Highways using vacuum cleaners.
“I have asked the environment ministry to conduct a research about the climate conditions during which pollution rises in Delhi… We must take necessary steps right before such conditions begin developing,” he said.“We must stop vehicular pollution by adopting fuel efficient cars, stop crop burning by putting them to better use, widen roads to avoid congestion, encourage greater use of public transport, develop and use Jal Marg (waterways),” he said adding that Centre, state and municipal corporation must work together to make Delhi pollution free.