Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, however, said that he is already in touch with the states in the NCR region and has asked them to implement graded action plan. The state can not leave its citizens to die due to the toxic haze.
The Indian Medical Association said the capital was witnessing a "public health emergency" and has appealed to the government to stop outdoor sports and other such activities in schools to protect the health of children.
He said farmers were "helpless" and were forced to burn crop stubble as the state governments had failed to provide them with alternatives. There is a need for an effective study by the experts and proper implementation of their recommendations, including short term and long term measures identified. Ministry officials said DMRC had also been directed to ensure deployment of additional ticketing operators and customer facilitation agents.
In the meeting, the measures proposed by the Environment Pollution Prevention & Control Authority (EPCA) - hiking of parking fees by four times in Delhi, stopping of all construction activity, no entry of trucks (except essentials), shutdown of schools for a week, increasing the frequency of public transport and introduction of the odd-even auto rationing scheme - were given a go-ahead. "If everyone, central govt, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana government, come together and put aside politics a solution can be found", he added.
In the NCR, Ghaziabad and Noida were the worst affected locations.
The air quality index was in the "severe", with a score of 448 in a scale of 500, category for the second time this year.
In the meantime, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up the Delhi government, the city's municipal corporations and governments in neighbouring states for "playing" with the lives of people.
"It is further mentioned that the air quality in the world's most polluted capital city plunged to levels likened to smoking at least 50 cigarettes in a single day". The last time the AQI index had a lower reading at 403 when Diwali fireworks had triggered high pollution October 20.
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