Central Government: Delhi-NCR air pollution: not in favor of working from home, employees urged to carpool, Center informs SC

The central government expressed before the Supreme Court on Wednesday its reluctance to ask its employees to work from home and instead advised its employees in the national capital to resort to carpooling to reduce the number of vehicles they use for commuting.

The Center, through an affidavit, told the Apex Court that the number of vehicles used by central government is a tiny fraction of the total number of vehicles in the nation’s capital and that stopping their circulation would not would not have much impact on improving air quality in Delhi.

The Center in its affidavit points to guidelines issued by the Air Quality Management Commission for Delhi-NCR and adjacent areas which included banning entry of trucks into Delhi until November 21, at the exception of trucks transporting essential products, closure of thermal power plants, ban on construction and demolition activities, deployment of anti-smog guns and water sprinklers, etc.

The central government has also considered the possibility of operating in online mode, i.e. “working from home”.

In this regard, it is stated that in the recent past, several government functions have been affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic for a substantially long period of time, resulting in ramifications across India.

The central government therefore reviewed the number of vehicles used for central government activities in the NCR and after finding that the said number was not very large, the central government decided that in view of the recent normalization of the operation of the central government offices after COVID-19 pandemic, the benefit of not shifting work from home would outweigh the benefits that would accrue from working from home, which would be limited to a lower number of central government vehicles on the road.

Instead, the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India has issued a notice to Central Government officers and personnel for pooling and sharing of vehicles as far as possible so that the number of vehicles in the central government providing travel for agents and staff is considerably reduced.

Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the central government to convene an ’emergency meeting’ on November 16 with Punjab, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and demanded an action plan to reduce pollution air to Delhi-NCR.

The Supreme Court questioned the Center on the scientifically proven drastic measures taken to reduce pollution.

According to the Center’s affidavit, 75% of pollution according to a scientific study is due to industries, heavy vehicle traffic and dust, so it is not stubble burning and these three factors must be reduced, observed the bench.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality continues to be in the “very poor” category for the fourth consecutive day today, according to the Air Quality and Weather Research and Forecasting System. (SAFAR).

However, the global air quality index (AQI) rose from 396 on Tuesday to 379 today.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR and Adjacent Areas (CAQM) also issued guidelines on Tuesday such as banning construction work, closing public schools, working from home, among other air pollution control measures in the region.

The commission also ordered five states to submit a compliance report by November 22 to the commission and the guidelines will be closely monitored by the Chief Secretary of the NCR States, GNCTD, on a regular basis, the official statement said. .ani

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