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With a killer 'pea soup fog' blanketing the national capital for three continuous days, the Delhi High Court and the National Green Tribunal today issued a slew of directions, including implementing the odd-even scheme, to improve the air quality in the city. Hours after the High Court suggestion to bring in the car rationing scheme as was done last year, the Delhi government decided to roll it out for five days starting November 13. The High Court asked the government to consider the option of "cloud seeding" to induce rainfall artificially, as an immediate step to bring down the dust and particulate matter in the atmosphere. The court, however, did not agree with the quadrupling of the parking fees as was ordered by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on the recommendations of the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority. Concerned with the deadly smog engulfing the city, the NGT banned construction and industrial activities in Delhi-NCR and ordered sprinkling of water on the roads to minimise dust contamination.
Similar directions were also issued by the High Court. As a "pollution emergency" prevailed in Delhi, with levels of PM 2.5 and PM 10 hovering above permissible limits, the authorities said the situation was likely to persist for another 48 hours. An irked green panel also imposed a ban on the entry of diesel trucks more than ten years old and said that no vehicle from outside or within Delhi will be permitted to transport any construction material The tribunal told the authorities that holding meetings, writing letters and shifting responsibility from one to the other for non-performance can hardly be made an excuse for meeting "such a bad environmental emergency". The HC also ordered the Union Environment Secretary to hold a meeting in three days of the chief secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to work out a joint short-term plan to bring down air pollution. Directions were also issued by the bench to the Delhi Traffic Police to ensure there is no vehicular congestion on the roads and provide masks to the personnel on duty.
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