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Restrictions relaxed under Stage-III of GRAP in entire Delhi-NCR as air quality improves

In response to the significant improvement in air quality, the Center has lifted Phase III restrictions of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the National Capital Region (NCR). The decision came in the wake of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) meeting, where significant improvement in the air quality of the area was observed.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: In response to the significant improvement in air quality, the Center has lifted Phase III restrictions of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in the National Capital Region (NCR). The decision came in the wake of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) meeting, where significant improvement in the air quality of the area was observed.

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From November 2, NCR was living under Phase III restrictions, which included a ban on non-essential construction, stone crushing, mining and operation of BS III petrol and BS IV diesel four-wheelers in specified areas. In a bid to combat pollution and protect public health, these curbs were imposed as the area’s air quality became worse. However, as the average air quality index (AQI) dropped from 395 to 312, the Center has decided to revoke these stringent measures.

The India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology have forecast that the NCR region is unlikely to return to ‘severe’ air quality levels in the near future. This prediction along with the recent marginal improvement in AQI has given residents a much-awaited respite from the prevalent pollution.

The national capital’s 24-hour average AQI, recorded at 4 pm every day, improved from 395 on Monday to 312 on Tuesday.

“Keeping in view the disruptive nature of restrictions under Stage-III of GRAP impacting a large number of stakeholders and public as well as considering the significant improvement in the average AQI of Delhi-NCR, the GRAP Sub-Committee unanimously decided to relaxed Stage-III of GRAP in the entire NCR with immediate effect,” the CAQM said.

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Actions under Stages-I to Stage-II of GRAP shall however remain invoked and “be implemented, intensified, monitored and reviewed by all agencies concerned in NCR to ensure that the AQI levels do not slip further to the ‘Severe’ category, the CAQM said.

Delhi has been battling severe air pollution for many years, with the city often shrouded in a thick blanket of smog during the winter months. The removal of Phase III restrictions marks a step forward in the ongoing fight against pollution in Delhi. However, it is important to note that the city’s AQI remains in the ‘very poor’ category, indicating that there is still a long way to go before air quality improves significantly.

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