Amid harsh criticism surrounding reports of unused funds, the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government plans to spend Rs 787 crore from the environment cess to buy electric buses to fight the air pollution menace.
An RTI query had, earlier in the day, revealed that the government had used mere Rs 93 lakh of a Rs 700 crore amount it had collected under the 'environment cess'.
AAP government has been criticized for not buying buses to bolster public transport. Though the government had proposed odd-even when the city was battling smog, its decision to exempt bikers and women car drivers for lack of enough buses on the road had invited criticism from the National Green Tribunal.
The Hindustan Times reported that “Delhi’s bus fleet currently stands at 5,425 against the requirement of 11,000, which is mandated by the Delhi High Court. Both the DTC and cluster buses need to have a fleet of 5,500 buses each. While at least 769 buses have been added to the cluster or orange bus fleet in the last four years, not a single one has been introduced by the DTC since the Commonwealth Games in 2010.”
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal also met his Haryana counterpart today to discuss the impact of smoke from stubble burning from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.
The monitoring agencies Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research) has however predicted an improvement in the current weather scenario saying that the air quality gradually improving and may turn 'very poor', which is a notch better than 'severe'.
"Very light rain/drizzle is likely to occur on November 15. Under the above scenario, atmospheric circulation over Delhi will become favourable for reduction of air pollutants from this evening," the CPCB said.
A 'very poor' AQI comes with the warning that people may develop respiratory illness on prolonged exposure while exposure to 'severe' air affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases.