The national capital facing severe air pollution has not received any funds from the Centre under the 'National Clean Air Programme' despite being among the 102 non-attainment cities, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. Calling air pollution as one of the biggest global environmental challenges, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in January 2019 launched the 'National Clean Air Programme' (NCAP).
In a reply to a question raised by Prabhat Jha, Rajya Sabha Member from Madhya Pradesh, the Ministery of Environment, Forest and Climate Change informed the House that 102 non-attainment cities have been identified under the NCAP based on the ambient air quality data for the period 2011-2015 and WHO report 2014/2018.
"The city-specific action plans have been approved for ground implementation for all 102 non-attainment cities," the reply said.
Out of 102 non-attainment cities identified under NCAP, for the cities with million-plus population and (air quality of) PM10>90µg/m³, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is funding Rs 10 crore in the current year for 28 such priority cities.
"For the remaining non-attainment cities, funding of Rs 10 lakhs per city for cities with population less than five lakhs and Rs 20 lakhs per city, for cities with a population of five to 10 lakhs have been sanctioned," the reply said.
The 28 priority cities, according to the reply were: Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Raipur, Bhilai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Dhanbad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Mumbai, Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Pune.
Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Kolkata and Patna were also among the 28 cities, along with Agra, Allahabad, Kanpur, Lucknow, Varanasi.
As per the reply, Rs six crore each has been sanctioned to the 28 cities.
The reply also said that funds have been released to 90 cities, including the 28 cities, under the scheme, with no mention of Delhi.
The funds were released for various components, which include installation and commissioning of Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS), creating green buffer zone along the roads, Mechanical street sweeper, mobile enforcement unit, public awareness and capacity building activities and water sprinkler.
"The Central government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) under the Central Sector "Control of Pollution" Scheme as a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to tackle the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner with targets to achieve 20 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as the base year for the comparison of concentration," the Rajya Sabha was informed.
The national capital has been witnessing severe air pollution for the last month, with the air quality touching the 'emergency' mark.
The air pollution in the national capital was so toxic after Diwali that the Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) had declared a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR and had advised people, especially children and the aged, to limit their exposure to the environment.
The Delhi government has urged the Centre many times to take steps to deal with the air pollution as it has blamed stubble burning in the neighbouring states for the deteriorating air quality here.