Kejriwal Government’s Winter Action Plan will be the backbone of the fight against pollution this season

The Kejriwal Government is working on war footing to combat air pollution. A ray of hope in that prospect has come from the preparations of the Winter Action Plan for which several agencies are now accelerating progress. In line with Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal’s vision to make the state pollution free, the agencies have been asked to leave no stone unturned in their preparations. Environment Minister Shri Gopal Rai informed that the Winter Action Plan is taking up speed. He said that a review meeting with all the concerned departments for making the ‘Winter Action Plan’ for Delhi took place on Tuesday. Different focus points from the 10 point ‘Winter Action Plan’ have been allocated to different departments to work on. Among other responsibilities, the Development Department will make a plan for curbing stubble burning. All government agencies that take up construction will submit a plan to control dust pollution.The Transport Department and Traffic Police have been tasked with reducing vehicle pollution. All three MCDs will have to work on preventing garbage burning. The Environment Department will conduct dialogue with other states and the Centre. They will also work with DPCC to upgrade War Rooms and the Green App. CM Arvind Kejriwal and Environment Minister Shri Gopal Rai will meet Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav.

Shri Gopal Rai said, “The Delhi Government has started making the Winter Action Plan to tackle the pollution problem in Delhi. A few days ago, in the meeting with officials of the Environment Department, we identified 10 focus points. To work on these points, we organised a meeting of all the principal agencies in Delhi – All the three Municipal Corporations, NDMC, Cantonment Board, DDA, CPWD, PWD, Traffic Police, Transport Department, Environment Department, Development Department.” 

“In today’s meeting, we have assigned different tasks to different departments and have asked them to submit action plans until 21st September to the Environment Department. We will prepare the final action plan based on their recommendations. The Development Department has been specifically directed to draft a timeline & action plan to curb stubble burning,” he said.  

“To tackle the dust pollution, all the MCDs, NDMC, DDA, CPWD, PWD, DDA, Cantonment Board, I&FC Department and all other government  agencies that take up construction work have been asked to make an action plan on four focus points – a) procurement of dust suppression chemicals; b) Mechanical Road Sweeping; c) disposal plan for the dust sucked from roads; d) special training for ground staff to sensitise them about pollution,” he added.

“When I went for the anti-dust campaign in Delhi last year, I saw that the sensitivity around dust was very low in people; they were doing their tasks just because they were told to. Therefore, we have directed every department to sensitise their on-ground workers like Junior Engineers, Contractors, Supervisors to get control of the situation,” he said.

“For working on the Garbage Burning focus point of our action plan, we have given the special responsibility to the Municipal Corporations. We have received a suggestion that people throw their garbage on the roadsides, which gets burnt. We have asked the MCD to take steps to remove the garbage before people burn it. We got feedback from RWAs that the guards of societies burn wood or garbage to save themselves from the cold. We have given the target of creating an alternative to the MCD so that we can work on the waste burning issue. To reduce vehicle pollution, the Transport Department has been tasked with promoting electric vehicles, along with the increased monitoring systems of pollution certificates,” he added.

“Traffic Police have been given the target of traffic decongestion. In traffic jams, pollution levels increase. The action plan must be made to deal with wherever there is increased traffic congestion, increasing the number of red lights, among others. There are two major reasons behind traffic jams – trucks breaking down on the road, or private cars breaking down on the road. Traffic police have been tasked to make special arrangements so that these vehicles can be immediately removed. Thus far, the system has been such that when DTC or cluster buses break down, the mechanic comes from the depot the bus belongs to. The Transport Department has been asked to make a ground action plan such that when this happens, the mechanic from the nearest depot can come and fix it,” the minister said. 

“Alongside, MCDs work as the nodal agencies in Delhi hotspots, so monitoring and implementation of those hotspots have been given to the MCD. Dialogue with neighbouring states has been given as a task to the Environment Department. The DPCC, as well as the Environment Department have been tasked with improving the War Room and Green App.  Finally, coordination with the Central Government will be done by the Environment Department,” he said. 

“All of these departments have been given the target of 21st September, and we are sending a format via the Environment Department to all departments in which they will submit their action plan. Along with CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal, I will meet with the Union Environment Minister, for which we have communicated to him asking for a time for the meeting. We will hold dialogue on the raging issues concerning the environment and other related matters. We hope that the Union Environment Ministry takes responsibility for this so that stubble pollution coming from other states can be solved. When all of these different departments’ action plans come to us, we will present the Delhi Government’s Winter Action Plan,” he concluded.

(EW correspondent)