Delhi government shuts schools as state turns into gas chamber

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If the situation deteriorates further and persists for at least 48 hours, the task force under the GRAP will mull shutting schools and enforcing the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme. With people reporting symptoms of irritation in nose and throat, the state government has officially declared holidays for the Schools while asking the residents to not come out during the morning hours for the next three days. Till Monday evening, the air quality index was in "very poor" category. "But, there has not been any step in that direction from the Central government", Arvind said.

Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said that if needed the schools will remain closed even on Thursday.

AQI level from 0-50 is considered "good", 51-100 is "satisfactory" 101-200 is "moderate", 201-300 is "poor", 301-400 is "very poor", and 401 and above is "severe".

A combination of smoke from stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana and moisture turned Delhi into a "gas chamber" today, prompting authorities to announce a series of preventive measures including a four-fold hike in parking fees and slashing of metro fares.

"Government, municipal corporations, and private schools till Class 5 will remain closed on Wednesday", deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said.

That's not all. The EPCA has asked the Delhi government to start preparing for measures such as odd-even and ban on construction if pollution aggravates. The Chief Minister has also requested for the appointment of Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is now on a visit to Germany to attend a Climate change summit. There has been no response on this proposal, said officials.

Kejriwal added, "All of us together have to find a soln to this".

Alarming levels of pollution in Delhi calls for an action on a war-footing, Akshima Tejas Ghate, Associate Director (Transport and Urban Governance) TERI said.

Tuesday is also termed as the worst air pollution day recorded in Delhi for the season so far.

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