National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) today reviewed in detail the measures being taken by the four member States and Punjab to contain Air Pollution in Delhi and directed them to submit detailed Action Plans in this regard. Union Minister of State for Urban Development Rao Inderjit Singh, Chief Minister of Haryana Shri Manohar Lal Khattar, Forests Minister of Haryana Rao Narvir Singh, Urban Development Minister of Delhi Shri Satyanedra Jain, Chief Secretaries and concerned senior officials of member other member States of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan besides Punjab, Chairman of Central Pollution Control Board and officials of State Pollution Control Boards attended the Board meeting chaired by the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu. The Board will soon file an affidavit in this regard before the High Court of Delhi.
Shri Venkaiah Naidu said that air pollution in the National Capital of Delhi is a matter of serious concern and all the five States should act in unison to mitigate the suffering of the people being caused by air pollution.
The States have given details of measures being taken to contain air pollution being caused by stubble and biomass burning in the adjoining States of Delhi and Punjab, burning of garbage, Solid Waste Management and road dust and construction activities. The measures being taken included supply of equipment for mechanical disposal of stubble and crop residues, biomass gasification, imposition of fines for burning, management of sanitary landfills etc.
Chairman of Central Pollution Control Board informed that an Action Plan has been prepared under the directions of the Supreme Court in the context of high levels of air pollution in Delhi in November this year which could be part of the affidavit to be filed by NCRPB. This Plan relates to monitoring networks in Delhi, centralized analysis of pollution data being collected by different agencies, preventive actions and graded action plan.
The Board asked the States to consider the ‘Comprehensive Study on Air Pollution and Green House Gases in Delhi’ undertaken by the Indian Institute of Delhi, Kanpur, commissioned by the Delhi Government to address air pollution problems in NCT of Delhi by identifying major sources of air pollution, their contribution to ambient air pollution level and develop a control plan to reduce air pollution in Delhi.
This Study in its Action Plan has recommended in a progressive manner; Managing crop residue burning in Haryana, Punjab and other local biomass burning, Stopping burning of Municipal Solid Waste, Wind breaking, water spraying and reclamation, Retrofitting of Diesel Particulate Filters and implementation of BS-VI for all diesel vehicles, Promotion of Electric/Hybrid vehicles, Reducing Sulphur content in Industrial Fuel to less than 500 PPM, De-Sulpher Oxiding and De-Nitrous Oxiding at power plants within 300 km radius of Delhi, Stopping use of coal in 9,000 hotels/restaurants in Delhi, LPG to all, Vacuum sweeping of major roads, Vertically covering the construction areas etc.
The Board also discussed issues relating to forest cover in National Capital Region, definition of forests and Aravalli Range and delineation of Natural Conservation Zones and gave necessary clarifications.
Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have been asked to increase forest and tree cover in the National Capital Region gradually in a phased manner to 20% of total geographical area while expressing concern over present cover of only 3.30% in 2012 declining from 4.30% in 1999. Forest and tree cover is to be increased through conservation of entire Aravalli range spread in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan, including its foothills up to appropriate extent for ground water recharge and to maintain over all environmental balance, afforestation wherever feasible, including in land parcels of Aravallis that have scarce vegetation, creation of green buffers around lakes, water bodies and ponds, waste lands, village common lands, along road sides and railway lines etc.
Regarding definition of forest, member States have been asked to go by the provisions of existing statutes and laws till the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change finalizes the same with the approval of the Supreme Court. Delhi considers a land parcel of one hectare as forest if it has 100 natural grown trees.
Polluting red category industries may be given an opportunity to adopt pollution control measures failing which they need to be relocated in specified industrial areas. The Board said that while preparing Master Plan and Development Plans and demarcating urbanisable areas, member States should ensure that such industries should be located in the most optimum and strategic manner in suitably planned areas, taking into consideration the future growth directions and economic profiles of settlements, so that adverse environmental impacts can be minimized.
The Board also clarified the position regarding demarcation of Aravalli range and delineation of Natural Conservation Zones (NCZ). It said that the Notification issued by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1992 has clearly explained for districts of Gurgaon in Haryana and Alwar in Rajasthan for regulating certain processes and operations in specified areas of Aravalli range and this notification would guide identification and delineation of Aravallis in the entire National Capital Region.
States were also told that delineation of Nature Conservation Zones including Aravallis in Sub-regional Plans should be based on ground truthing and verification of revenue records by the States. NCRPB has no role in such delineation.
The Board made it clear that Natural Conservation Zones are the major natural features identified as environmentally sensitive areas which include the extension of Aravalli ridge in NCT of Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan, forest areas, the rivers and tributaries of Yamuna, Ganga, Kali, Hindon and Sahibi, sanctuaries, major lakes and water bodies such as Badkal lake, Suraj Kund and Damdama in Haryana Sub-region and Siliserh lake in Rajasthan.
The Board stated that while the Regional Plan-2021 for National Capital Region prepared by the National Capital Regional Planning Board and notified in 2005 stipulated major policies regarding broad land uses, detailed land use planning and land allocation should be demarcated by respective member States in their Sub Regional Plans as per the existing statutes and laws.
The Board accepted the conclusions arrived in the several inter-ministerial meetings chaired by Secretary(UD) Shri Rajiv Gauba on issues relating to definition of forest, Aravalli range, delineation of Natural Conservation Zones since June this year.
The Board has authorized the NCRPB Secretariat to initiate preparation of Regional Plan-2041 for NCR Region.
The Board discussed 14 inter-State connectivity links with the aim of facilitating seamless travel in the National Capital Region which is necessary for ensuring balanced development of the region. Respective States have been asked to take up immediate measures like land acquisition etc. These inter-State links include:
1.Kalindi By-pass road from Ashram Chowk, Delhi to Faridabad By-pass
- Eighty meter Dwarka Link in Zonal Plan K-II connecting Gurgaon that would traffic load on NH-8
3.Mehrauli –Guragaon Road to be developed as NH-236 to ease traffic on NH-8, now redesignated as NH-48
4.Connecting Nelson Mandela T-Point at Vasant Kunj with the existing Gurgaon-Mehrauli Road to reduce travel time
5.Upgrading Gwal Pahari Mandi Gadaipur-Jaunpur Road up to Andheria Mor in Delhi
6.Bawana Auchandi Marg in Haryana to be extended as State Highway-18
7.Road from Ring Road (Inder Lok Metro Station) and existing Yamuna Canal Link Road up to Haryana border
8.Bridge over Yamuna between Chhaprauli and Hathwada village in Haryana.