“Pollution levels in Delhi have remained in the severe zone for more than a week, triggering a health crisis and an international debate. But not enough for all stakeholders to get their act together to pull Delhi and its neighbouring areas out of the mess.
Last winter, the Capital experienced its worst smog in 17 years and in January this year, the Centre notified the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). But no stakeholder – be it the Delhi or the Union governments or Delhi’s civic agencies – has been able to keep its promise to put in place effective pollution control measures.
Here’s what was promised and what was implemented.
• Bus fleet
What it promised: After the two odd-even drives last year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had said it would augment the bus fleet as Delhi needs 11,000 buses to boost public transport as mandated by the Delhi High Court.
What happened: Instead, Delhi’s fleet reduced from 5,852 last year to 5,425 now. The government said it could not procure new buses because of non-availability of land to park them. But there has been a clear lack of urgency from the government’s side to push the land-owning agency, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to get the space allotted.
It was only on Monday – after the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) and the NGT rapped the government – that state transport minister Kailash Gahlot wrote to DDA, seeking 135 acres of land.
The Cabinet has now decided to bring 2,000 more buses but that would take at least six more months. Even after that, a deficit of around 3,600 buses would still remain.
What it promised: A crackdown on polluting vehicles and stringent checking of pollution under control (PUC) certificates.
What happened: With a compliance rate of 23.2%, most vehicles in Delhi continue to remain out of the PUC
checking network. The transport department is yet to complete creating a cloud-based system to keep a track of PUC renewals.
• Public information
What it promised: People would be alerted through SMSs and the air quality index (AQI) would be updated on LED screens
What happened: Public information dissemination was a complete failure with the government failing to set up hoardings. No information regarding air quality and dos and don’ts was disseminated via hoardings and radio ads.” Read more of the Hindustan Times article about what was promised and implemented on dust control, interstate coordination, RFID for commercial vehicles, waste burning, parking management, and more on DelhiAir.org
Delhi smog: What authorities promised and what they delivered