Letting public, municipal and private offices work on 50% strength and the rest to work from home; closure of colleges and “non-emergency commercial activities,”; allowing vehicles to run on odd-even basis — it has been 11 days since Stage IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was imposed, but these measures are yet to be enforced.
This, even as Delhi’s air quality deteriorated further on Thursday — the AQI was 440 (‘severe’) at 10 pm.
This is also the longest stretch for which the most extreme restrictions under the plan have been suggested, at least from 2021 onwards. Last year, Stage IV — which comes into force when AQI levels are over 450 or the ‘severe plus’ category — was invoked by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on November 3 and revoked three days later. In 2021, it was invoked on November 3 and revoked on November 7.
The Act that constituted the CAQM for the NCR was passed in 2021. While it takes decisions on imposing stages of GRAP in the NCR, the steps are to be implemented by state governments.
While the odd-even scheme has not been implemented in the city after an attempt in 2019, work-from-home for 50% of Delhi government staff was announced in November last year.
The Delhi government had earlier announced that the odd-even scheme would kick in from November 13 to 20, only to defer it after the Supreme Court had referred to it as “optics.”
When contacted for a comment, the office of Environment Minister Gopal Rai said measures such as the odd-even scheme and 50% work from home in private and government offices are under consideration for implementation subject to the AQI reaching the ‘severe plus’ (more than 450) category.