<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Tuesday, Delhi’s skies resembled a vast plume of dust as smoke emitted from farm fires across Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, and moisture-laden winds enveloped the city in a thick layer of smog. The air quality of the Capital breached the ‘severe’ category, making it hazardous and unhealthy for even those without any respiratory ailments.The situation saw the Supreme Court-empowered Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) go into a huddle. The members have now directed Delhi and other NCR states to immediately roll out measures from the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP). Apart from Delhi, authorities across Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan were also issued these directions.Chief among the directions were an increase in public transport services, including Delhi Metro, addition of more coaches in Metro, and a reduction in fares during off-peak hours, as long as the air quality was in the ‘severe’ category.To control the rampant dust pollution, the EPCA has directed all state pollution control boards to immediately impose fines on all road construction agencies found wanting in dust control. While discussing the quantum of fines, officials from CPCB and EPCA chief Bhure Lal said that using provisions of the Construction and Demolition Rules, a penalty of up to Rs 5 lakh can be imposed.”The EPCA is directing for a fine of Rs,50,000 to be imposed as penalty, per day, for inadequate road dust control,” EPCA member Sunita Narain said during the meeting.Meteorological conditions played a significant role in worsening Delhi-NCR air-quality, Central Pollution Control Board Member Secretary A.Sudhakar informed EPCA on Tuesday.”It is in the severe category primarily due to weather conditions. The Western Disturbance-influenced winds are bringing pollutants from Punjab and winds from eastern side are bringing in moisture,” A Sudhakar said.

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EPCA tells states to impose fines, hike parking fees