"Will Extend Odd-Even If Needed": Arvind Kejriwal As Air Quality Dips

The air quality of Delhi is in -severe'' category today, with not much improvement expected for the next two days, the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research said.

Odd-even scheme may get extended in Delhi, says Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

New Delhi:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said that odd-even scheme in Delhi that ends on Friday may get extended if needed.

"We are thinking about the odd-even scheme. If needed, we will extend it," Mr Kejriwal said as air pollution level in Delhi remains in "severe" category.

"I am worried about the health of the people of Delhi. I am also concerned about the image of the city being projected in the world. Earlier this month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Delhi, what image will she carry about the country's national capital," the Chief Minister said.

The road rationing scheme that began on November 4 for 12 days was relaxed on November 11 and 12 for the celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

After the two-day relaxation, the air quality in Delhi, which improved from "severe" to "poor" category, returned to "severe" category today morning. The Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) said that air quality is expected to enter "severe plus" or "emergency" category later today with little improvement expected over the next two days.

"The air quality got better by October 10, but after stubble-burning in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, the pollution levels increased again. Despite the Supreme Court's direction, the two states continue to burn stubble and people of Delhi are at the receiving end," the Chief Minister said.

Suggesting a solution to the stubble farming issue, Mr Kejriwal said, "Many factories in Punjab are ready to convert stubble into coal and electric power distribution company NTPC is ready to buy that coal."

Mr Kejriwal also appealed the Opposition parties on Twitter to not protest against the road rationing scheme. "Entire Delhi is demanding Odd Even rule, the Opposition must side with the people," he tweeted.

The Supreme Court today issued a notice to the Delhi government on a plea challenging the ongoing odd-even scheme in the national capital. It also sought pollution data from Delhi government and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from October till November 14 this year and from October 1 to December 31, 2018, news agency PTI reported.

At the start of odd-even scheme earlier this month, the top court had pulled up the Delhi government, questioning what has been achieved by the odd-even scheme and asked it to supply figures regarding the impact of the road rationing.

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