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Air quality panel to focus on stubble fires, use drones to collect samples | Delhi News – Times of India

Air quality panel to focus on stubble fires, use drones to collect samples | Delhi News - Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Street-level sampling of emissions using drones and adoption of a more comprehensive village-level approach to deal with stubble burning will be the key priorities of the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas constituted on Friday in the wake of repromulgation of ordinance on managing issues of air pollution.
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“These are our immediate priorities. We broadly know the source of air pollution. But the street-level sampling of pollutants will help us take more specific targeted action on the ground,” K J Ramesh, full-time technical member of the commission, told TOI on Saturday.
Ramesh, former director general of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said, “We would, meanwhile, keep on working on strict implementation of the existing graded response action plan (GRAP). We will soon finalise the modalities of our priority actions, including use of drones for street-level sampling of pollutants.”
Besides Ramesh, there are two full-time members, including former chief secretary of Delhi, M M Kutty, who has been retained as chairperson of the reconstituted commission.
Professor Mukesh Khare of IIT, Delhi, however, opted out of the panel due to his existing responsibility. Khare was one of the full-time technical members of the earlier commission, which ceased to exist on March 12 after lapse of the original ordinance.
The environment ministry has included representatives from five ministries – transport, power, petroleum, agriculture and commerce & industry – as associate members in the new 18-member panel, responsible for monitoring and enforcement of law relating to air quality in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas spread over four states — Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab.
Few other members, including two from NGOs and three representatives from agriculture, transport and construction sectors, will be included in the expanded panel in due course.
Asked about the provision where the repromulgated ordinance spared farmers from hefty penalty (of up to Rs 1 crore) and jail terms (of up to five years) for stubble burning, Ramesh said the existing laws in states to deal with the problem through local bodies would, however, continue to be applicable.

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