7th November, 2016
Shri Arvind Kejriwal
This concerns deteriorating Air Quality in the National Capital and the consequential ill-effects on the residents. As you are aware that today is the eighth consecutive day when PM 2.5 levels have crossed the 1360 mark, whereas, as per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, once the Air Quality Index enters the 151-200 mark, a red alert is declared.
Keeping the present situation in mind, I will advise that your Government will do well to immediately declare an ‘Air Emergency’ in Delhi, till the hazardous pollution levels in the city are brought down considerably.
It is our humble suggestion that the GNCTD giving paramount importance to public health must also develop a similar threshold limits for ‘Air Quality Index’ for the National Capital and determine ‘Red Alert’, ‘Purple Alert’, ‘Maroon Alert’ and declaration of ‘Air Emergency’, as and when required. Each of these threshold limits can be couple with a slew of emergency measures to be automatically activated if AQI surpasses a threshold limit for a prescribed number of days. This will enable the administration to prepare and act, without any delay, as per the air quality alert levels.
There is no doubt that the people of Delhi are virtually living in a gas chamber like situation and exposure to exterior environment can be extremely harmful, especially for the children and the elderly. It is pertinent that during this period of Air Emergency at least for a short term:-
a) All Government & Private Schools, Colleges remain close;
b) All Government & Private establishments, except for emergency, health and sanitation services, remain close;
c) All freight vehicles and those transporting material for construction sites be barred from the roads of the National Capital during Air Emergency, except for those carrying essential and emergency services/ goods;
d) The Government of Delhi shall ensure that no vehicle having engine capacity of more than 2000 cc is allowed on the capital roads (this was earlier opposed by your Government before the Hon’ble Supreme Court).
Your kind attention is also drawn to the following facts, which, if had been addressed timely, could have averted the present crises. Nonetheless, your Government will do well to consider the same even at this stage as they will go a long way in improving the ambient air quality of Delhi.
1) State of Public Transport in Delhi
a) The fleet of DTC buses in December 2013, i.e. at the time when Congress demitted office, was 5445 buses. As per the official figures of January 2016, i.e. at the time of Odd Even Phase – I under your Government, the bus fleet was reduced to 4461. Therefore, under your Government, the bus fleet was drastically reduced by about a thousand buses.
b) As a fallout, the average ridership of DTC has fallen by 10% under your regime from 46.77 lakh passengers/ day in 2012-13 to 42 lakh passengers/ day.
c) Similarly, while efficiency/ fleet utilization of DTC buses was 85.29% in April, 2015, the same plunged to 67.87% under your Government in Jan 2016 the month of Odd-Even first phase.
d) Month on Month comparison of route kilometers daily covered by DTC buses in Delhi got reduced by 2070 kms between January, 2015 and January, 2016.
2) Pollution caused due the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant
Though you have suspended operation at the Badarpur Thermal Power Plant for ten days, the Congress Party urges that the same shall be shut down permanently and its load be transferred to the Bawana Gas Power Plant for clean power generation.
In this regard you will appreciate that the total generation capacity of the Badarpur plant is only 705MW, however, the Bawana Gas plant, installed by the Congress Government, can bear a load of upto 1370MW and only 30% of its installed capacity is being utilized during the peak requirement for want of Gas supplies. Hence shifting from thermal to gas generated power will come as a big relief to the residents of Delhi.
3) Roadblock in Metro Constructions
You may know that the Phase-III of the Delhi Metro is the only Metro line in Delhi which has not been able to meet its target completion date of September, 2016. Being the Chief Minister of Delhi you will do well to note that the major delay in this regard has been caused due to obstacles faced by the DMRC to acquire land owned by DUSIB under the Delhi Government. Out of the planned 156 kms of Metro Phase-III, only 22 kms has been completed till date and the deadline is over. Moreover, had your government been efficient in providing land clearance for the metro, the project could have been completed as scheduled and the ridership of the metro would have gone up from the present 30 lakh passengers per day to 45 lakh passengers per day, thereby taking off load from the roads of Delhi. Because of this, the much-awaited phase IV has not started and continuous construction work at Metro sites also add on to the air pollution.
In view of the above, it is sincerely hoped that your Government will consider the suggestions made and facts highlighted, on priority.
Sh. Arvind Kejriwal,
Chief Minister GNCTD