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Delhi state chief says critical pollution levels to prompt car rationing

Published: November 9, 2017

STORY: Reeling under an intense spell of toxic smog, the chief of Indian capital New Delhi said on Thursday (November 09) his government was pondering a move to reintroduce the controversial car rationing system to get a grip on the alarming pollution levels.

Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, said this while inaugurating 20 air quality monitoring stations in the capital.

He blamed crop stubble burning by farmers in the neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab for the high levels of smoke descending on New Delhi, virtually turning the city into a gas chamber.

Illegal crop burning, vehicle exhaust emissions in a city with limited public transport and swirling construction dust compound the crisis, which has been worsening over the past few years.

Kejriwal said his government was monitoring the situation and was looking at bringing back the car rationing system under which vehicles with odd and even number plates are allowed to ply on the roads on alternate days — substantially cutting down the traffic and vehicular pollution on the roads.

Residents complained of headaches, coughs and smarting eyes. Many stayed home and restaurants in some of the city’s most crowded parts were deserted.

Schools have been shut for the week and late on Wednesday the city administration announced a set of measures to try to clean up the air.

Commercial trucks have been banned from the city unless they are transporting essential commodities, all construction has been stopped and car parking charges raised four times to force residents to use public transport.

Meanwhile, trains across northern India were also reported to be running late due to fog.

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