In-person school classes in the national capital will remain shut for a week and employees at government offices will be asked to work from home for the same period due to the air pollution crisis, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on November 13.
“For a week from Monday onwards, schools will be physically closed; to continue virtually so that children don’t have to breathe polluted air,” Kejriwal said.
“Government offices to operate from home at 100 percent capacity for a week. Private offices to be issued an advisory to go for WFH (work from home) option as much as possible,” the chief minister told reporters, after chairing a high-level meeting with senior officials and ministers of the Delhi government.
The government has also decided to bar construction activities in the national capital from November 14-17, Kejriwal added.
The decisions have been taken in view of prevailing weather situation. With no wind movement predicted between November 14 and 17, the air quality is expected to turn worse, the Delhi CM said.
The announcements also come hours after the Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Delhi government whether taking stringent measures such as a “two-day lockdown” or temporarily stopping the use of vehicles will prevent the further deterioration of the air quality.
Kejriwal, on being asked by reporters whether the Delhi government will impose a lockdown, said such a decision would be taken after discussing with the Centre and state agencies.
“There was a suggestion in SC over complete lockdown in Delhi if (pollution) situation turns worse…We’re drafting a proposal.. which will be discussed with agencies, Centre…If it happens, construction, vehicular movement will have to be stopped,” he said.
Delhi has annually witnessed a deterioration of the air quality during November — which is considered to be a fallout of the stubble burning in neighbouring states.
The apex court, however, pointed out earlier today that stubble burning alone cannot be blamed for the current situation in the capital city.
“We understand some per cent is stubble burning. Rest is crackers, vehicular pollution, industries, dust pollution etc. You tell us how to bring AQI levels from 500 to 200 points in Delhi,” the bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said.