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Delhi to get over 18 cr 'green' funds from govt for air pollution management

Delhi is among the most polluted cities in India (HT_PRINT)Premium
Delhi is among the most polluted cities in India (HT_PRINT)

  • Delhi will be getting the funds from National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for the 20-30% reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration
  • The Delhi government has prepared a ‘Winter Action Plan’ to tackle air pollution. The plan focuses on 10 key issues, including stubble burning, dust pollution etc

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The Centre will give national capital over 18 crore under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) this year to cater to critical gaps in air pollution management. It is for the first time that Delhi will get funds from the NCAP for the 20-30% reduction in PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024, with 2017 as the base year for comparison.

NCAP covers 132 non-attainment cities, which do not meet the prescribed national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

An official from the Union Environment Ministry said that " The national capital did not get any funds under NCAP for two years because it had other resources available -- a green cess levied on diesel vehicles above 2,000 cc, which is deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and a pollution tax on commercial vehicles entering Delhi".

However, this time the fund's availability under the NCAP has improved, he said.

A total of 290 crore is available for 82 cities, the NCAP said. The NCAP fund will be utilised to cater to critical gaps -- wherever there is any inadequacy of funds available from other resources. The rest of the funding is to be mobilised through the convergence of schemes, the official explained.

Funds for bigger projects such as management of construction and demolition waste are allocated under the Swachh Bharat Urban programme and other schemes of the central government.

The Delhi government has prepared a "Winter Action Plan" to tackle air pollution. The plan focuses on 10 key issues, including stubble burning, pollution hotspots, working of smog tower, and vehicular and dust pollution. Recently, the Delhi government imposed a complete ban on the sale and bursting of firecrackers till January 1, 2022. Additionally, the city government launched a smog tower at Connaught Place that can purify the air in a one-km radius around the structure, at a rate of around 1,000 cubic metres per second.

The smog tower has 40 fans and 10,000 filters developed by experts at the University of Minnesota which also helped design a 100-metre-high smog tower in Xian, China.

Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai said the smog tower at Connaught Place has started working at full capacity and primary results show an 80 percent reduction in pollution levels.

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