Tuesday, July 16, 2024

PMO reviews air pollution situation in Delhi-NCR, calls for GRAP implementation

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Friday called for strict implementation of the actions listed in the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) and directed officials from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to ensure reduction in paddy stubble burning.

P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister said this while chairing a meeting of the high-level task force on air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

He also reviewed various measures being undertaken to prevent and abate air pollution in Delhi-NCR.

Mishra emphasised on the need to shift to cleaner fuels and e-vehicles, and also called for developing electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the region.

In an effort to ensure reduction of the paddy stubble burning across Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, the principal secretary to the PM instructed close monitoring of the issue by the chief secretaries of the three states.

He advised the in-situ management of paddy stubble through Crop Residue Management (CRM) machines, and use of bio-decomposers.

Mishra also advised Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) to improve the technology.

Elaborating on ex-situ management of paddy stubble, he advised working on developing economic use of paddy straw.

Mishra also stressed on developing adequate storage facilities for baled straw along with infrastructure for baling, briquetting and pelleting for effective ex-situ utilisation of paddy straw.

Further, strict adherence to the stipulated targets for co-firing of biomass, with focus on paddy straw, in the thermal power plants biomass was also discussed.

During the discussion, Mishra emphasised on a multi-pronged approach comprising several measures, such as procurement of biomass pellets, adopting the benchmark price issued by the power ministry, expanding gas infrastructure and supply in the entire NCR region by March 2024, and ensuring expeditious supply of biomass on demand.

Further, there should be intensified drives to replace overaged vehicles, vehicles which are visibly polluting because of overloading and other reasons, and stricter implementation of actions envisaged in the GRAP by all concerned, he suggested.

The meeting was attended by all major stakeholders namely secretaries to the Central government in the ministries of environment, agriculture, power, petroleum, road transport & highways, housing and urban affairs, animal husbandry & dairying, besides the Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and adjoining areas, chief secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and NCT of Delhi, Central Pollution Control Board and the respective state pollution control boards.

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