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Odd-even phase 2: Kejriwal and company bet big on volunteers

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New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is hoping that its huge deployment of civil defence volunteers for the second phase of the odd-even scheme will prove to be effective, just like phase I.

Both Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and transport minister Gopal Rai had felicitated the over-4,000 volunteers who had participated in the previous odd-even fortnight.

This time too, in the run up to the second phase, Kejriwal and Rai made special efforts to enthuse the volunteers, who have signed up in record numbers, claimed officials.

“More than 5,000 volunteers will be deployed for phase II,” said Rai. The volunteer base is expected to be crucial — it will be the face of the government, said officials. “They have been asked to spread awareness and exhibit Gandhigiri,” added the source.

At a press meet on Thursday, Rai appealed to the residents of Delhi to “boost the morale of the volunteers”.

“They are doing a selfless job in hot weather conditions. I would appeal to RWAs, social organisations and others to please try and do something nice for these volunteers, who will be braving the sun to spread awareness against pollution,” said Rai.

The government, on its part, would provide volunteers with white caps, umbrellas and water as well as lemonade to beat the heat. “Special ambulances will also be deployed,” Rai said.

Clarifying that the volunteers will only “spread awareness and won’t issue challans”, Rai said, “I would appeal to the volunteers to be polite while pointing out violatations”.

This time, 321 wardens would monitor the volunteers and coordinate with them.

This is to ensure smooth deployment of the volunteer force, Rai said.

Source: TOI-Delhi

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Well begun, but not even half done

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New Delhi: Will controlling vehicular pollution improve air quality in Delhi? The state government thinks so and is contemplating making roads available to cars only on alternate days every fortnight. But there is more to pollution than car emissions as IIT Kanpur’s report last year had detailed, and the government also needs to tackle the various sources of pollution mentioned in it.

IIT Kanpur’s “Comprehensive study on air pollution and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in Delhi” had said, for instance, that if concrete batching was accompanied by steps such as spraying water and using wind breakers, PM 2.5 emissions from the activity could be reduced from 3,594 kg daily to 1,797 kg. Similarly, ensuring that municipal solid waste was not burnt could lessen PM 2.5 emissions from more than 1,700 kg per day to nil.

Large scale introduction of electric or hybrid vehicles, retrofitting of cars with diesel particulate filters, implementation of BS VI emission norms by January 2019, 10 PPM sulphur diesel by 2018, and a strict inspection and maintenance programme could together halve the current 11,623 kg of PM 2.5 emission. All these assessments are based on modelling exercises.

“It may be noted that air polluting sources are plenty and efforts are required for every source. In addition, there is a need to explore various options for controlling air pollutants for increased emission in future,” the report advised.

The state government has begun taking some steps regarding the various sources identified by the IIT report, but the intensity is not encouraging, say experts. While those caught burning trash are being fined Rs 5,000, construction sites are also being monitored to ensure they follow anti-pollution guidelines. In fact, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee has collected Rs 1.5 crore as fines from uncompliant construction companies.

However, as Anumita Roychowdhury, head of the clean air campaign at Centre for Science and Environment, pointed out, “There is no way to assess the scale of the problem and how much of it has been controlled so far. We have to find a way to keep track.” She also said that there had to be a time-defined roadmap for managing fly ash at the Badarpur power plant, which the government had announced would close down but is functioning after meeting air quality standards set by DPCC.

In its submission to the Supreme Court last December, the Delhi government had promised that the city would also remove all municipal corporation parking lots from PWD roads, but that has not begun yet. Other interventions such as upgrading fuel norms to BS V and BS VI are the prerogative of the Centre, but they will play a major role in achieving improved air quality, according to IIT Kanpur’s assessment.

Source: TOI-Delhi

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Gone in 15 minutes: 3 cars, VK's peace of mind

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NEW DELHI: A gang of car thieves was able to enter C-9 block in Vasant Kunj and make away with three vehicles within 15 minutes, an exploit that has left the colony people alarmed and anxious. CCTV footage captured the men, who appeared to be armed, arriving in a sedan and later driving away in a Scorpio, Innova and a Swift from the parking lot.

The incident took place after midnight on Wednesday. Residents say footage recovered from CCTV cameras located in the vicinity of the parking lot showed the gang members approaching the cars parked there. They tried breaking the locks of some of the vehicles, then managed to tamper with the lock of the Scorpio and open it. The men then moved on to the Innova and Swift, after which two men climbed into each of the vehicle and drove off. One of the gang members kept an eye out for guards and residents.

“The robbery spot is just a few metres away from a police post manned by three policemen. However, there was no one there during the incident. The police station is around 100 metres away from the spot,” said Harjinder Saroha, president of the resident welfare association.

Around 12.40 am, the robbers drove away in the four cars. Some residents saw the convoy speed away unchallenged by the colony security or the police. It was only in the morning that the car owners realised that their vehicles had been stolen.

All the cars were reportedly less than a year old and fitted with security systems that the robbers had managed to deactivate. The owner of the Innova, K P Singh, said that he had purchased the car in February this year and had installed a gear lock that the gang seemed to have removed with ease.

The police suspect a gang from Meerut to be behind the thefts. If that is the case, the cops are not very hopeful of recovering the cars. Stolen vehicles are dismantled within hours and sold as scrap, explained one police officer.

Under current rules, the car owners will be able to claim insurance once they receiving an “untraced report” in 21 days from the crime branch’s newly formed e-police station.

Source: TOI-Delhi

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