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Concerned over hazardous smog engulfing Delhi, Union minister Nitin Gadkari today directed officials of all highway projects to take stringent steps to check pollution. Gadkari, who holds multiple portfolios of road, transport, highways, shipping, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, stressed for a thorough research into reasons behind such pollution levels offered his ministry's support for any such initiative. "The Minister ... has said that directions have been issued to Project Directors, Contractors and field level officials working on highways projects around Delhi NCR to take stringent steps to check pollution arising out of the construction work," the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement. The steps to be taken in this regard include sprinkling water at all construction sites and camp, covering of dumpers transporting construction material/waste including flyash, in the region, covering of exposed soil at the construction sites and adherence to air quality norms by all plants and machinery, it said. Field officials have been directed to inspect the construction sites regularly to ensure that all the pollution control measures are adhered to in a strict manner. Gadkari said that thorough research needs to be done to find the cause of this pollution adding, this year the smog has descended despite the ban on crackers and restrain on burning of crops. The Road Transport & Highways Ministry will offer all possible help for such research, he added. Pollutants touched calamitous levels here yesterday, as a thick grey smog hung low across the region, prompting the government to declare closure of schools till Sunday, halt construction activities and ban entry of trucks in the city.
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