The Hush Post: It was during Diwali that Delhi’s air was a mess and now again its air quality has slipped to one of the worst levels on Tuesday. Also the air, road and rail traffic are no better.
The Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) National Air Quality Index (NAQI) pegged the city’s air quality at 408 on Tuesday, few points above Monday’s 400. The Tuesday sun did not help clear the smog. Places like RK Puram, Anand Vihar, Pandara Road, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk were the worst hit. Also the periphery of Delhi including Azadpur Mandi and roads leading to Gurugram and Noida weren’t any better. Elsewhere, in the region Ludhiana too fared bad as far as pollution levels were concerned.
The Supreme Court-authorised GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan) mandates that emergency level action plans should be triggered if ‘severe’ air quality persists for two days. This include a probable ‘odd-even’ car rationing by the city government; banning heavy transport in the city except for essential supplies; and halting construction activity, stone crushers, hot mix plants, etc.
On Tuesday, six flights were cancelled and over 60 delayed due to fog at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday morning. Nearly 40 domestic and 26 international flights were among those delayed. General visibility improved to 200 metres at IGI compared to zero metres in the last two days. The runway visual range (RVR) was between 800-1,000 metres early on Tuesday morning. This is also an improvement, as RVR was in the range of 50-100 metres in the last two days. Takeoffs at IGI require a minimum RVR of 125 metres and landings can take place with a minimum RVR of 50 metres. The airlines are also allowing passengers to change or cancel flight bookings without any penalty. Trains were also hit on Tuesday due to fog. Some 64 trains were delayed and 21 cancelled, while 24 had to be rescheduled, according to the Northern Railways. Elsewhere in the region too flights are in disarray as are trains and road traffic movements.