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Nov 15, 2017 12:18 PM IST | Source:

Pollution-fighting helicopters from Pawan Hans can’t fly in Delhi - because of smog

An air traffic controller said that sprinkling operations would only be possible in North and East Delhi as there were several no-flying zones in the district  

An ambitious plan to dissipate the national capital’s fog with anti-smog helicopters is in a tizzy as national helicopter carrier Pawan Hans told Delhi government its aircraft cannot be used to sprinkle water to dissipate the smog in the city because of low visibility caused by pollution.

Pawan Hans had decided to help the administration fight the smog cover in the city by aerially sprinkling water over the national capital.

After a meeting with the Delhi government on Monday, Pawan Hans Chairperson and Managing Director BP Sharma told The Indian Express that it was not possible for the helicopter carrier to carry out sprinkling operations.

Pollution levels in the national capital, however, declined quite a bit on Tuesday, going from the “severe” to the hazardous category.

Also Read: Delhi air pollution level shoots up after brief let-up

Air quality index presently is recorded at 384 for the overall city. Particulate matter over Anand Vihar on Wednesday morning was recorded as 234 micrograms per cubic metre, and 232 micrograms per cubic metre for R K Puram.

Another issue with carrying out such an operation is no-flying zones in New Delhi district, especially Lutyens area, that make sprinkling possible only in select areas. Further, Vasant Kunj and Dwarka are descending zones for civilian aircraft, and plane operations are too busy to be halted for air sprinkling.

Also Read: Delhi pollution woes: Kids in the capital have smaller lungs compared to children in US thanks to poor air quality


That only leaves out North and East Delhi, where it is possible to halt choppers for a longer period.

Previously, the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi had offered to pay for the use of helicopters to sprinkle water over the city to settle pollutants.

Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had told the Delhi government last week to see whether the chopper operations were a cost-effective option.

Despite fall in pollution levels lately, the national capital's air quality is still 30 times that of World Health Organisation prescribed levels.
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