The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) on Saturday lifted the anti-pollution curbs under Stage-IV of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in Delhi and adjoining areas after the air quality improved from 'severe' to 'very poor' category.
The commission withdrew the restrictions after reviewing that the Air Quality Index (AQI) in the national capital did not slip further in the past few days.
Restrictions under Stages-I to Stage-III of the GRAP shall, however, remain invoked and be implemented, as the current air quality in the Delhi-NCR area stands at the 'very poor' category.
Stage-IV restrictions, including the prohibition of polluting vehicles and construction activities in the city, were implemented on November 5 when the AQI dropped to the 'Severe+' category (AQI >450).
The Sub-Committee for invoking actions under the GRAP held a meeting on Saturday and observed that the present AQI level of Delhi is around 322 (Very Poor), which is about 128 AQI points below the threshold for invoking the GRAP Stage-IV actions.
The central pollution watchdog also noted that preventive/ mitigative/ restrictive actions under all Stages up to Stage-IV are underway and there is a likelihood of sustaining the improvement in AQI.
The forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Indian Institute of Technology Madras also does not indicate any further deep degradation, RK Agrawal, Convenor of the Sub-Committee on GRAP, said.
The CAQM also noted that the restrictions under GRAP Stage-IV are disruptive and impact a large number of stakeholders and public at large. Officials stated that monitoring agencies in the city are closely monitoring the situation and will make decisions accordingly based on the air quality.
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