NEW DELHI: Centre’s pollution plan calls for stricter parking norms – The environment ministry has come up with a Comprehensive Action Plan (CAP) to combat air pollution in Delhi-NCR in the long run, which will go hand-in-hand with the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that kicks in when air quality deteriorates.
While the draft notification of the plan was finalised by the Centre in March, the final plan was released by the ministry on Monday, with deadlines set for each sector, including air quality monitoring, crop burning, traffic management and emission control. The plan also stresses the need for a strict parking policy in Delhi-NCR and for upgrading the public transport system immediately — two changes that were raised by the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) at a meeting with the ministry on Monday.
“The ministry reviewed all measures under CAP for Delhi-NCR. But EPCA has highlighted the need to focus on public transport as well as on a parking policy to encourage people to shift to public transport. With no deterrence or a suitable system in place, the number of vehicles on the roads will increase,” said Sunita Narain, a member of EPCA and Director General at the Centre for Science and Environment.
The Centre’s pollution plan has called on agencies to ensure strict compliance of the shift to BS VI by 2020, expand the CNG network across NCR, introduce more battery-operated vehicles in targeted segments of twowheelers, three-wheelers and buses and to install vapour recovery systems while tightening PUC norms.
It also asks NCR to work on diverting transit truck traffic effectively and checking overloading. The plan calls for a parking policy that will physically demarcate legal parking areas and fine people found parking outside of it. The plan states each parking area should have a metering system and proper signages to reduce cruising time for vehicles.
Sunita Narain said measures that have already been implemented under CAP include the switch to “approved” fuels and ban on pet coke and furnace oil in industries. “This is already making a huge difference. But we have asked for improvement in pollution monitoring, especially for industries,” said Narain.
CAP further asks for better traffic management and mentioned a need to improve the frequency of the metro while introducing more buses into the system. “The main focus at this moment needs to be on public transport improvement. We are seeing implementation in all the other areas,” Narain added.
Interestingly, a number of revised deadlines proposed are of February 2018 with work on some of them yet to take off.
“The emission and fuel quality action plan failed to address the recent orders where the ministry of petroleum and natural gas committed to the court that that BS VI fuel will be made available in 17 districts out of 23 districts in NCR and two districts adjoining NCR. The ministry has also assured that by October 1, 2019, BS VI fuel will be available in districts of Haryana including Gurgaon. The availability of CNG has been in consideration of the Supreme Court for long time but the ministry has not yet submitted any fruitful solution or a timeline for availability of CNG. This clearly shows that the government has failed in implementing the timelines as set up by them,” said Ritwick Dutta, an environmental lawyer.
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