Delhi: Schools Shut-Down and 50% Work from Home to Continue as AQI takes another Dive

By: Riya Jha
24 Nov 2021 2:11:09 PM Shoolini University, Solan, Himachal Pradesh

The air quality in Delhi is once again likely to be in the ‘very poor’ category from Wednesday, according to the Air Quality Early Warning System for Delhi. Consequently, all private and public schools, colleges and other educational institutions in the NCR would be closed until further notice, as per the Kejriwal government’s instructions on Sunday.


The AQI of Delhi is currently at 280, according to the SAFAR forecasting system. It is a slight improvement as the AQI on Tuesday moved from the ‘very poor’ to the ‘poor’ category, with the 24-hour average index recorded at 290.


Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced on November 13 that schools would stay closed for a week starting from Monday. A day later, the Haryana government announced the closure of schools in four cities -- Gurugram, Faridabad, Sonipat and Jhijar -- from Monday.


"The environment department has directed to close all the schools with immediate effect till further orders of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas. Therefore, all government and private schools will remain closed till further orders," Additional Director of Education Rita Sharma told NDTV.


However, after the situation failed to improve on Sunday and Monday, the Delhi High Court asked the administration to continue the orders to cover this week, as well. In fact, the AQI on Tuesday morning had reached 382, the worst since the night of Diwali.


The CAQM issued a nine-page order along with the stay at home instructions. Some of the guidelines are bulleted below:


All public and private schools, colleges and educational institutions in NCR shall remain closed until further orders, allowing only online mode of education, the CAQM directions read.


NCR state governments have been directed to allow work from home (WFH) for at least 50 per cent of their staff in offices in NCR till Sunday and encourage private establishments to follow suit.


Only five of the 11 thermal power plants located within 300 km radius of Delhi NTPC, Jhajjar; Mahatma Gandhi TPS, CLP Jhajjar; Panipat TPS, HPGCL; Nabha Power Ltd. TPS, Rajpura and Talwandi Sabo TPS, Mansa will remain operational till November 30.


Delhi and the NCR states to stop construction and demolition activities in the region till November 21, barring railway services/railway stations, metro rail corporation services, including stations, airports and inter-state bus terminals (ISBTS) and national security/defence-related activities/ projects of national importance subject to strict compliance of the C&D Waste Management Rules and dust control norms.


Trucks carrying non-essential items have been banned from entering Delhi till Sunday in a bid to contain the spiralling air pollution levels.


All industries in NCR still using unapproved fuels shall be closed by respective governments with immediate effect. NCR States and GNCTD shall enforce a strict ban on use of DG sets, except for emergency services.


Authorities in NCR have been ordered to ensure that no diesel and petrol vehicles older than 10 years and 15 years, respectively, are found plying on road.


The Delhi government has been directed to expeditiously procure and put on road adequate number of CNG buses at the earliest. 

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